Want to make the ultimate mince pie yourself? We found the perfect recipe!
JR Ryall, head pastry chef at Ballymaloe House, gives us a masterclass in Christmas baking with his mouth-watering mince pie recipe
For the mincemeat:
1 cooking apple
225g (1/2lb, 11/2 cups) raisins
110g (4oz, 3/4 cup) currants
110g (4oz, 3/4 cup) sultanas
60g (2oz, 1/3 cup) candied peel
450g (1lb, 2 cups) firmly packed moist brown sugar
225g (1/2lb, 2 cups) chopped beef suet
75ml (21/2fl oz, generous 1/4 cup) whiskey
1 tbsp orange marmalade
1. Put the apple in a hot oven to bake.
2. Grate the lemon rind finely without any white pith. Squeeze out the juice.
3. Mix in the other ingredients one by one, mixing thoroughly.
4. When the apple is cooked, peel and core it and mix the flesh in thoroughly with the fruit.
5. Put into jam jars and cover closely. Use as required.
For approx. 20 mince pies:
225g (1/2lb) cream pastry, puff pastry or flaky pastry
225g (1/2lb) sweet shortcrust pastry
1 jar mincemeat
1. Roll out the sweet pastry to 3mm thick and cut into rounds, 7.5cm (3in) in diameter, and line shallow bun tins with the discs.
2. Put a heaped teaspoon of mincemeat in the centre and brush the pastry edges with egg wash.
3. Roll the cream pastry to 3mm thick and cut into rounds, the same as you did for the shortcrust base, and cover a pie with each.
4. Prick the lid of each pie with a fork. They can be kept like this for a day or two in a fridge before baking.
5. Brush with beaten egg before putting in the oven.
6. Bake for 20 minutes approx. in a moderately hot oven, 200°C/400°F/gas 6, until golden brown.
7. Serve warm with Irish whiskey cream.
For the Irish whiskey cream:
1 tbsp Irish whiskey
1 tsp icing sugar, sieved
225ml (8fl oz) softly whipped cream
Fold the whiskey and sugar into the whipped cream.
For the cream pastry:
110g (4oz, 1/2 cup) flour
110g (4oz, 1/2 cup) cold butter
150ml (1/4 pint, 2/3 cup) cold cream
1. Sieve the flour into the bowl of an electric food mixer.
2. Cut the butter into small cubes and rub into the flour using the paddle attachment until the mixture forms a coarse texture. Do not overmix – if you do, the mixture will form a shortbread-like ball.
3. Pour in the cold cream and mix until a smooth pastry forms.
4. Wrap the pastry in parchment paper and chill overnight.
(Tip: Always roll cream pastry straight from the fridge. If the pastry comes to room temperature it will be too soft to handle.)
For the sweet pastry:
300g (11oz, 21/4 cups) flour
60g (2oz, 1/4 cup) caster sugar
30g (1oz, 1/4 cup) icing sugar
170g (6oz, 3/4 cup) cold butter, sliced
1 small egg, lightly beaten
1. Sieve the flour and sugars together, then rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.
2. Bind with the beaten egg to form a smooth pastry.
3. Divide the pastry in two and wrap each piece in cling film.
4. Rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour or freeze.
Source: JR Ryall, head pastry chef at Ballymaloe House