Christmas is a time of nostalgia. It’s when you dig out your grandma’s Christmas pudding recipe or your mum’s ultimate turkey stuffing. Palm sized mince pies are also a baker’s favourite festive treat. But instead of fussing about with individual mince pies, you need to try this giant traditional fruit mince pie recipe.
How to make pastry at home
Making your own pastry for the mince pie is so satisfying, and surprisingly easy. If you’ve never made pastry at home before, here are some great tips to get you started.
- Resting: When making pastry it’s important to rest it so that the moisture evens out and the gluten has time to relax. Wrap pastry in baking paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes (or as per recipe instructions). Resting helps to minimise any shrinking of the pastry from while baking.
- Working the pastry: Only sprinkle a small amount of flour on your work surface. Too much and you run the risk of drying the pastry dough out. You can always use baking paper when rolling and avoid using flour altogether.
- Temperature: When working with pastry that’s been resting in the fridge, always allow time for it to come to room temperature. Factor in around 30 minutes as this will make it easier to work with. That said, your kitchen, benchtop and hands should all be cool so that the pastry doesn’t become too soft when rolling and shaping.
- Blind baking: Recipes often call for blind baking because pastry can take a little longer to cook than fillings. To blind bake, simply prick the base of the prepared pasty a few times with a fork then line with baking paper, top with pastry weights and place in the oven to cook as per recipe instructions. You can use dried pulses or rice if you don’t have pastry weights.
- Fillings: Make sure your fillings are either chilled or at room temperature before adding to prepared pastry bases. Warm ingredients can cause the pastry fat to melt and result in soggy pastry.
- Pie topping: When covering your pie with pastry, always make sure to cut into strips or circles larger than you need so that you can be sure the pastry will reach the edge of the pie. Simply remove excess once assembled.
Cheat’s guide to mince pie
Making the fruit mince filling is simple and makes for a deliciously rich and juicy filling. However, if you’ve nailed the pastry and run out of time, at a pinch you can buy ready-made fruit mince in a jar from the supermarkets. It will still make a yummy mince pie but for the real showstopper, you really can’t go past home-made.
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