Sunday, June 3, 2012

Mince Pies

We have once again reached Christmas day at Hogwarts. And you know what that means! Tasty gifts from Mrs. Weasley:

"Mrs. Weasley had sent him a scarlet sweater with the Gryffindor lion knitted on the front, also a dozen home-baked mince pies, some Christmas cake, and a box of nut brittle" (Prisoner of Azkaban 222).

Mince pies are another classically British holiday item. They also used to contain beef-- thus, "mincemeat." Lucky for us, people realized that the pies were much tastier with the beef removed. There is a delicious recipe for mince pies in The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook, so that is the recipe we will use today!

For the Crust, You Will Need:
2.5 cups flour
2 Tbs sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick (8 Tbs) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup (8 Tbs) vegetable shortening, chilled and cut into pieces
1/2 to 3/4 cup cold water

1. Place the flour, sugar, and salt in your food processor and pulse a few times to combine.
2. Scatter the pieces of butter and shortening over the flour mixture and pulse until it resembles coarse yellow meal, 15-20 pulses.

3. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle 1/2 cup cold water over the mixture and toss with a spatula until the dough sticks together. If the dough is too dry (mine was, a little), add more water 1 Tbs at a time. 
4. Divide the dough in half, form into disks, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge at least 1 hour or up to 3 days (this is quite perfect, because the filling takes over 90 minutes to make!).

For the Mincemeat Filling, You Will Need:
1/2 cup dark raisins
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 dried currants or dried sweetened cranberries
juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
juice and grated zest of 1 orange
1 cup apple cider (now that I write this, I've realized I forgot to add the cider. oops.)
2 tart apples (like Granny Smith), peeled, cored, and chopped
2 sweet apples (like Gala), peeled, cored, and chopped
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 stick (4Tbs) unsalted butter
1/4 cup brandy, if desired
1 egg, beaten with 1 Tbs water, for brushing the tops
1 Tbs cinnamon mixed with 3 Tbs sugar, for sprinkling

1. Combine all the filling ingredients, except for the butter (and brandy) in a large saucepan.

2. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the mixture boils. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1.5 hours.
3. Bring the mixture back to a boil, and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid has evaporated and the mixture is very thick, 5-10 minutes.

4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter. At this point, also stir in the brandy if using it.

5. Cool to room temperature and then chill until cold.
6. On a generously floured surface, roll out one of the disks of dough to about 1/8" thick. Cut 4.5" circles (I used a GIANT mug as a template). Shoot for ten circles (I got 8, and then smooshed one more out of the scraps).

7. Fit the circles into the cups of a 12-cup muffin tin. 

8. Scoop 1 heaping tablespoon of filling into each crust.

9. Roll out the second disk of dough and cut out slightly smaller circles (Ms. Bucholz says 3.5"). 
10. Moisten the edges of the pies and attach the tops by crimping the edges with a fork or your fingers.

11. Brush the tops of the pies with the beaten egg mixture and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. Cut slits for vents (oops).
12. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees until dark golden brown.

13. Cool the pies completely in the pan, then slide a knife around the edges and lift them out gently.

These are quite delicious, and their small size makes them easy to serve and to keep yourself from eating too many! They would be quite tasty on a cold winter day. Perhaps Christmas at Hogwarts? Whenever you decide to try them out, enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Pretty much any use of the word 'mince' on its own in British cooking means ground meat, often beef or pork...oddly enough, "mincemeat" doesn't have meat in it! It's also called forcemeat.