Nothing beats an evening on the sofa, under a blanket, watching a Christmas movie with a warm drink and a mince pie. I chose to top my pies with filo pastry for two reasons, the first being they look really pretty that way and secondly as they are lighter this way you can eat more. There is logic there somewhere, trust me.
Making the mincemeat yourself is deeply satisfying and fills the house with Christmas smells, always a bonus.
for the mincemeat; (makes 6lbs)
1lb apples, cored & peeled
8oz vegetable suet
350g golden raisins
225 dark brown sugar
170g mixed peel
100g chopped mixed nuts
zest & juice of 3 oranges
zest and juice of 2 lemons
2tsp mixed spice
1tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup port
4tbsp brandy (to be added at the end)
Combine all of the ingredients apart from the brandy into an oven proof bowl. Cover and leave for 12 hours.
Place the oven proof bowl into an oven covered with a loose foil lid at 100C for 3 hours.
The mincemeat will look like it is swimming in oil, this is normal. As it is cooling stir occasionally. When fully cooled stir in the brandy and store in sterilised jars .
for the pies; (makes 18)
170g homemade sweetened short crust pastry
3 sheets filo pastry
knob of butter
Roll out the pastry and line deep muffin tins.
Place 1-2 teaspoons of your mincemeat into each pastry case.
Place in an oven at 180C for 10 minutes.
Whilst the pies are in the oven melt a knob of butter and brush both sides of your filo pastry sheets and cut into strips.
Remove the pies and top each one with crumpled filo strips & return to the oven until browned.