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Juliet Sear's freeze-ahead mince pies

Whether you like them warm or cold, with cream or without, nothing says Christmas quite like the taste of a mince pie. And with just 38 days to go until the big day, now is the time to start prepping!

So Juliet Sear is here to save you time in the future with her easy, freeze-ahead, mince pies.

Mince pies

Makes 9-10 pies

Ingredients

For the mincemeat

400g mincemeat (flavoured as below) 

Zest of one or two oranges to taste 

20ml of Courvoisier or booze of your choice!

For the pastry (optional - you could use 500g block shortcrust pastry)

A little melted butter 

250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

40g icing sugar

Pinch of salt 

125g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed

2 x medium free range egg yolks

Plus another egg for egg wash and a sprinkling of granulated sugar for the tops

Plain flour, for dusting

1 egg, beaten

Granulated sugar, for sprinkling

For the Viennese Whirl topping (optional - see Juliet’s tip below)

250g softened unsalted butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

50g icing sugar

220g plain flour 

60g cornflour

½ tsp salt

 Use two round cutters, large enough to line the tin and up the sides, and for the tops


Method

1. For the mincemeat, take the jar of mincemeat, add the zest of two oranges and the Courvoisier. This will make a little more than you will need for one batch, as a guide you will need 40-45g per pie. 

2. Brush the tin with melted butter and let it set in the fridge while getting on with the pastry rolling.  

3. If making pastry, place the flour, icing sugar and pinch of salt in a food processor. Blitz to mix up then add in the cold butter and blitz until it is like breadcrumbs. 

4. Add in the egg yolks and blitz for another 45 seconds to a minute until it begins to come together and forms clumps of dough. Then tip out onto a lightly floured surface and bring together into a ball and flatten out. 

5. Dust the surface as you need and roll out to a little thinner than a pound coin.

6. Take a large cutter and cut enough circles to line the bases, place into the tin neatly, push down with your fingertips.

7. Put a small spoonful of mincemeat in each one (approx 2 tbsp) and make the tops with the smaller cutter. 

8. Brush around the edges with egg wash and press the pastry tops firmly onto the base to seal. Poke little holes into the top for the steam. Re-roll any pastry cuttings, and make Christmas shapes with a knife, or use cutters, to decorate. 

9. Place in the fridge to chill for about 30 mins before baking or freeze until needed.

10. To bake the mince pies, preheat the oven to 180C fan. 

11, When ready to bake, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar and bake until golden and crisp. Leave to cool in the tins for about 15 mins, then carefully release and lift out with a knife.

12. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Juliets tips -

If you’re adding a Viennese whirl top, place the bases in the fridge to set well while you get on with mixing up the Viennese whirl topping. 

Place the butter, vanilla and icing sugar into a bowl and beat until pale and fluffy. Sieve in the flour, cornflour and salt together and beat until thoroughly mixed but be careful not to over-mix.

Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large open star nozzle. Pipe  swirled rounds over the outer edge of the pies and wind in, then pipe a little higher in the middle to make a swirl effect. These are more delicate so make sure they are cooled enough and take care when getting out of the tin. They are so delicious! 

Chill for at least 30 mins before baking as above, or freezing for a later date.

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Weekdays 10am-12:30pm ITV