The mince pie. Simple, humble and oh so delicious. Let's face it, Christmas just wouldn't be the same without mince pies, whether you're a fan of them or not.
Mince pies are really easy to make and you really can go wild with different ones - the BBC Good Food website (an excellent haunt for foodies!) is packed with recipes to tickle your tastebuds this Christmas.
From old-fashioned sweet mince pies made in the inimitable style of the Hairy Bikers to elegant star-topped morsels of loveliness by Nigella Lawson, there really is something for everyone to enjoy. There's even a gluten free version of mince pies and a recipe made for chocoholics!
However, we think you can't beat a plain mince pie, maybe with a glass of that delicious mulled wine we mentioned last week. Ainsley Harriott's recipe for easy mince pies absolutely does what it says on the tin - anyone can make them as the pastry is great to work with.
For the ingredients you will need - 140g cold butter (diced), 225g plain flour, 50g ground almonds, 50g golden caster sugar, 1 orange (zest only), a pinch of salt, 1 egg yolk, 1-2 tsp cold water, 280g good quality mincemeat, 1 egg (beaten) and icing sugar to finish.
First thing's first, preheat your oven to 200c. Then rub the butter into the flour (until it looks like breadcrumbs) and throw in the almonds, caster sugar, orange zest and salt, mixing well.
Combine the mixture with the egg yolk and water until it forms a soft dough, then pop it into a plastic bag and chill it in the fridge 20-30 minutes. Roll out the pastry to a thickness of 2-3mm and cut out about 18 rounds with a pastry cutter. The rounds should be 7.5cm.
Place the rounds into lightly greased patty tins and spoon dollops of mincemeat evenly into the pies. Re-roll the leftover pastry and cut out round lids (or other festive shapes) to fit on top of the mincemeat.
Lightly brush the pastry tops with the beaten egg and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes until they're a golden colour. Take them out of the oven and leave them for a few minutes before removing from the tins and placing on a wire rack to cool. To finish, give your pies a dusting of icing sugar and enjoy!
For more information and other mince pie recipes please visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/mymincepies_71055
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