Mrs Williams' mince pies

Everyone in Great Britain should know how to make mince pies.

Luckily I had a lovely friend called Mrs Williams who showed me how to make the best mince pies in the world ever. I used to sit in her farm-kitchen and get practical advice on everything under the sun, from how to bring up a baby to how to make the perfect mince pies (the two are obvs related).

I defy you to taste a lighter, more lush mince pie anywhere in the world.

The only thing is you have to be well bossy with the pastry, which suits me down to the ground.

Prep time: 20-30 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Servings: approx 12
Servings: approx 12

Ingredients

  • 8oz self raising flour (yes, self raising)
  • 3oz Trex or Stork cooking fat, or lard. Lard is better for you, but Trex/Stork won’t hurt once a year, just staying true to Mrs Williams here.
  • 1oz butter
  • 1 tablespoon of caster sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons of one of the following: water, whiskey (gak), lemon juice or orange juice (this is what I use).
  • large jar of nicest quality mincemeat or find a recipe and make your own.

Instructions

Mix the flour and sugar.

Rub the fat into the flour/sugar or use a mixer or food processor to make it into breadcrumb consistency.

Mix the the egg yolk and liquid of choice and add to the flour mix. Press into a ball (I use the dough hook on my mixer to do this), add a bit more liquid if you think it needs it but don’t go too mad as we want LIGHT CRUMBLY pies. Unlike normal pastry handling you will need to give this a good old squeeze to get it to form a ball. Bear with and make sure not to warm the pastry. Light but firm is the way to go.

N.B. This is a VERY crumbly pastry and quite hard to work with, be very bossy and assertive with it. Your pies might not look pristine but they will taste out of this world.

Flour your surface and your rolling pin well.

Lightly press the pastry out flat with your hands, cupping your hands around the edges to heal any cracks. Then lightly roll, I roll from the outside-in, if that makes sense because it keeps the pastry together better and prevents tears in the middle. About 2-3mm thick is good.

Use a pastry cutter to cut the circles and lightly place them into the holes of a really well buttered mince pie tin. I usually rest the circle on top of the hole without pressing it in, then I use the weight of the mincemeat to naturally push it down into the hole. You need to gently lift the pastry circles off the work surface with a palette knife as they can be temperamental. Just patch em up a bit if they go wrong.

Add a good heaped teaspoon  of mince and place the lids on. Just press the edges down firmly with your fingertip.

Bake for about 20 mins at about 180C – check them after 10 mins though. Get them out of the tin pretty quickly or they’ll stick. I leave mine a few mins then gently gently loosen the edges with the tip of a table knife before gently flipping up (sorry about overuse of the word gently, but it’s important) I promise you a couple will crumble but mostly they’ll be ace.

Give them away to people after eating one or two, or eat a couple while hot. It’s all about balance so go for a lovely walk in the wintery December countryside afterwards.

Merry Christmas! x

P.S. Frances, if you’re reading this from heaven, thank you x

Nutrition Info

Mince pies

Who cares! Ha!

Listen though, these are better than shop-bought ones cos you know what’s gone in ’em.

Love Santa x

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