I’ve heard lots of people say that they don’t like mince pies over the years, and it doesn’t usually cause an emotional reaction in me. Because that would be weird.
But last year, an American that I really like – I think it was Rob Delaney, but I have almost no recollection at all – slagged them off in a way that got me just a tiny bit riled up.
I don’t remember what he said exactly, but the quote involved the words “wodges of stodge” and made reference to how British people must just be a bit mad to continue to eat them so much every year.
Thinking about it, perhaps it wasn’t an American, do Americans say wodge and stodge?
Anyway, the reason it got me a little bit is because.. it’s kind of true.
Are both of those layers of pastry entirely necessary? Ever since I was a child, I’ve been removing the lid of mince pies to eat them, and then munching on it afterwards as a sort of second dessert.
In fact, if I was to eat a mince pie like a normal person, it really might seem like far too much pastry in my mouth at once – something I never thought I’d find myself saying.
So this year, I wanted to try this. A big page three mince pie. I should probably explain why I named it page three. Have you guessed yet?
It’s because it’s topless. Get it? If you don’t get it, you’re probably not a UK reader, so here’s a little background info for you. I’m sorry about the behaviour of my country. I promise some of us are OK.
And I think it solves the problem. You get plenty of delicious delicious mincemeat and a generous but not excessive helping of homemade pastry.
If somebody moans about there not being enough stodge, shove the pastry reindeer in their mouth, that’s absolutely what he’s there for.
The only thing to watch out for is over baking (as I unfortunately did ever so slightly for the shooting of this recipe), if you leave this in the oven for any longer than it’s designated thirty minutes then you’re likely to get slightly burnt tasting mincemeat. Fair warning.
FYI – you can get the gorgeous little Santas from these pictures here, thanks to Lindt for sending them to me!
200g plain flour
100g very cold butter cut into little cubes (I use goats butter)
8 tsps(ish) of cold water
400g mincemeat (if you’ve made your own then you’ve beaten me this year, congratulations on being a good and organised person)
- Heat the oven to Gas Mark 6 (conversions here) and grease an 18cm tart tin (is that what it is? Is it a flan something? You know what I’m talking about).
- Sift the flour into a mixing bowl, and rub the butter into it until it resembles breadcrumbs. If it’s your first time, this video should help you through it.
- Add the water and bring the mixture together with your hands, then knead until you have a smooth pastry.
- Roll the pastry out to about half a centimetre in thickness on a lightly floured work surface, then lift it into your tin and gently press it into all those lovely grooves around the outside – avoid fingernail marks in the pastry by using an offcut to do the pressing.
- Tip the mincemeat into the pastry case.
- With excess pastry (you can skim around the edges once it’s safely in the tin) cut out one of your favourite Christmas shapes using a cookie cutter, and place it in the centre of your tart.
- Bake for thirty minutes, no more if you can possibly avoid it or you’ll end up with burned mincemeat.
- Allow to cool before slicing if you want to keep it neat, but if you’d like to eat warm pastry and mincemeat immediately then who am I to stop you?
What do you think about mince pies? Do you love them? Am I really only a fan because of my blind patriotism?