Love them or hate them, mince pies are the snack you can't avoid during the festive season. Yes, the shops have been stocking them since October, but when it comes to finding the best taste and texture, homemade wins every time.
And if you're looking for a recipe to follow, who better to look to than Michelin star-winning chef Tom Aikens? He let us in on how the mince pies are made at his London restaurant Tom's Kitchen below:
325g-cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped 115g shredded suet
115g sultanas and currants
115g mixed candied peel
150g soft dark brown sugar
Zest and juice of 1 lemon and orange
30g nibbed almonds
2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp cinnamon
Large pinch fresh grated nutmeg
0.5g ground ginger
4 tbsp brandy
Pastry ingredients (to make 24):
270g all-purpose flour
110g caster or powdered sugar 2 egg yolks
1 whole egg
Few drops vanilla essence
Method for mincemeat:
1. Mix all the ingredients together, except the brandy, in a bowl and leave in a cool place for 12 hours to marinade.
2. Place the mixture in a baking dish, cover with tin foil and bake for 2.5 to 3 hours at 140°c / 225°f.
3. Leave to cool stirring from time to time and then stir in the brandy.
4. Spoon the cooled mixture into storage jars and cover with waxed discs and seal. This is then ready to use, however it's best to leave it to mature for one month.
Method for pastry:
￼1. Sieve the flour and salt, put into a stand mixer and place on a low to medium speed, then add the butter mix till crumb like. Add the sugar then eggs and yolks, it will slowly come together, then refrigerate for 1 hour.
2. Roll the dough out between two sheets of parchment to a 0.5cm thickness, then let it rest for 10 minutes. Cut out 48 pieces with a round cutter, you need the tops to be medium and the bottoms to be large.
3. Make the mince pies in either small Yorkshire pudding moulds or tartlet cases. Lightly grease the moulds/cases then flour. Line with the pastry then add the mince pie mix. Place on the lid, crimp the edges and bake at 180°c /375°f for about 10-15 minutes, dust with icing sugar.