I have a love-hate relationship with mince pies. I actually (whisper it!) don’t much care for mincemeat. But there is something so wonderfully festive about eating a mince pie, preferably warm and with some sort of boozy cream on top, that I still enjoy them. Strictly in December only, mind.
With that in mind, Frida and I have been busy in the kitchen this afternoon baking our own mince pies. They are a brilliant idea for baking with young children, as they can do so much!
First Frida chopped all the butter using her crinkle cutter (asking each time “Is this piece perfect? Is this one perfect?”) and added it all to the flour. This was also a good opportunity to use words like “half” and “quarter”, or give instructions like “cut it in half, and then in half again”.
Then she started mixing the butter and flour into breadcrumbs (I finished this to achieve the correct texture, plus she got a bit bored), then added an egg yolk which I had already separated for her, scraping the bowl with a spoon to get all the yolk out.
She gradually added some water, which she fetched herself, and helped to mix this in. I then pulled the mixture together into a dough which she was able to roll out (again, with help as the dough needed to be thin – I think we still made it too thick).
After we cut out pastry together she helped to fill the pies (I helped as by this point she was needing to move around a bit!) then give them their pastry lids which I cut out and passed to her. We used pre-bought mincemeat – as I’m not a huge fan I didn’t have a burning desire to make my own!
I then cut the slits and put them in the oven, although she could have done the cutting with supervision. By this point she was done with baking though and wanted to go and play.
I will freely admit it – as mince pies go, these are pretty poor. I think the pastry was too thick, and because we were baking together the lids were not as well sealed as if I’d been baking alone. I’m planning on serving them warm, with a healthy sprinkle of icing sugar and some brandy cream, which I hope will hide their multitude of sins! But as ever when cooking with Frida, the real joy was in the baking.
Have you been baking mince pies this December? What is your go-to recipe?