It wouldn't be Christmas without a mountain of rich and fruity mince pies. Our classic recipe is packed with festive spices and citrus notes – add brandy to the mixture for an extra kick.
- Pulse the butter and icing sugar in a food processor until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add one egg and half of the orange zest or vanilla, and pulse until combined. Sift in the flour and pulse again until the pastry comes together into a ball. Shape into a flattish circle, wrap in clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes.
- Roll the pastry on a lightly floured surface to the thickness of a £1 coin. Cut out circles with a 8cm fluted cutter and lightly press into a muffin tin. Prick the base of each pastry case with a fork. Mix the mincemeat with the rest of the orange zest or vanilla, plus brandy if using. Fill each case with a tablespoon of mincemeat.
- Cut out small pastry stars, Christmas trees and bells and place these on top of the mincemeat. Alternatively, cut out smaller circles to create tops for the pies. Brush the edges of the pies with beaten egg and press the smaller circles on top to seal tightly. If sealing the pies completely, make a small hole in the centre of each one (not needed for the star tops). The hole will let steam out. Chill for 10 minutes or until firm to touch.
- Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. Glaze the mince pies with the remaining beaten egg and a scattering of caster sugar. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the pastry is golden and just crisp. Allow to cool slightly in the tin, then transfer to a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar and serve with brandy butter or whipped cream.
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