This afternoon I took a big, deep breath. Because we’re almost there: Tim’s last day of work before the Christmas break was today, and we have a quiet, lovely weekend planned before next week’s festivities. This evening, with Henry in bed and Tim out with friends, I thought I’d watch You’ve Got Mail and bake. So I made these.
If you stop and think about it, this is the most insanely amazing Christmas idea since The Muppet Christmas Carol. I love mince pies, but haven’t yet dared to make any, mostly because mince pie pastry is a delicate art. It’s easy to make a bad mince pie. But it’s impossible to make a bad one of these.
There are two ingredients: a jar of mincemeat and store-bought puff pastry. You can buy it ready-rolled or roll it yourself; either’s fine. Once the pastry is rolled out, cut out squares of roughly 10 x 10 cm with a sharp knife or pastry cutter. I guestimated, and ended up with squares of varying sizes, but it doesn’t matter.
Once you have your squares, make a 3-4cm cut diagonally from each corner into the middle. It looks a bit like this.
Apologies for horrendous photographs. The blog does not forgive late night baking. It thinks I should get more sleep.
Then put a spoonful of mincemeat in the middle of each square. Take one corner of each side and fold it into the middle, making a kind of pinwheel effect. By which I mean, this:
I found that my pastry corners didn’t want to stick on top of each other, so I brushed the ends of each with a little beaten egg, and that did the trick. Finally, cut out little stars from your leftover pastry, and stick on top with more beaten egg.
The recipe recommends brushing the whole thing with egg before it goes in the oven, but I tend to prefer my puff pastry lighter and less crispy, so I didn’t. After fifteen minutes in the oven at 200C, and after a sprinkling of icing sugar, they looked wonderful.
Be aware that mincemeat welds itself to baking trays like a raisiny barnacle, so make sure to use baking paper to save yourself flying pastry crumbs.
And that is IT. My block of puff pastry made a great stacked plateful, and it hardly took any time at all. Wish I’d known about these before Christmas party season – much easier than baking a cake, and beautifully festive. The only question is whether I can get through all thirty before Timothy gets home.
Deliciousness: Oh, lovely. Light and quickly snaffled. They are best warm, I think, but remember that mincemeat comes out of the oven as hot as the sun, so wait a little while. Oh my GOODNESS would they be intense with clotted cream.
Complexity: As Becky says, this isn’t baking but assembly. Would be great to make with kids on a Christmassy Saturday afternoon.
Washing-up pile: A rolling pin, a knife and a baking tray. I can get behind that.
Casualties: My REM cycle. Again.