The ideal way to incorporate some of your 5 a day. Tangy fruit flavours blend perfectly with the low fat, high protein goodness of Graham’s Quark.
A mince pie should not be overpowered by a heavy mass of pastry that surrounds usually a tiny half a teaspoon of runny, artificial-tasting mincemeat. The filling should be centre-stage, and that’s why I don’t cover it up.
First, preheat your oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4. Grease (heavily, get right into the corners) a bun tray with lots of butter.
Into a large bowl, weigh out the plain flour. Weigh the butter and chop it up into little pieces, then add it to the flour.
Rub the flour and butter together with your fingers. The technique is to take two handfuls of floury butter, and rub them together by passing your thumbs from your pinkies to your index fingers, using them like a washboard. Keep going until it’s like breadcrumbs. You can use a food processor if you like.
Add a tablespoon of iced water and mix together. You want it to JUST about come together into a dough; add dribbles more water until it does this. The fastest way to bad pastry is to add too much water. Work it slightly to mop up any spare crumbs. Cover with cling film and rest in the fridge until use (at least 15 minutes).
When ready to make your mince pies, remove your pastry from the fridge and place on a floured surface. Sprinkle more flour on top and start to roll out flat. Use plenty of flour and keep moving it around to stop any sticking. Once it is the thickness of a pound coin, that’s perfect.
Cut using a suitable cookie cutter; if you don’t have one, use a mug. Place in your greased bun tin and add a big teaspoon of mincemeat to each. DON’T OVERFILL! If you like, you can use the optional egg wash to glaze the visible pastry with a brush.
Bake for 15 minutes or so until the pastry is blushing golden brown and the mincemeat bubbling. Leave to cool for at least 10-15 minutes (hot mincemeat is really, really hot) then dust with icing sugar and enjoy.
I know Christmas can be a busy time. So, even if you don’t fancy trying this whole recipe, please just go out and buy some ready-rolled pastry (puff, sweet or shortcrust) and fill them deep with mincemeat. You won’t regret it.