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If you made enough shortcrust pastry for the apple tarts, you can use the remainder for these seasonal essentials.
|Shortcrust pastry (see apple tarts)|
|12 ounces||300 grams||Plain flour (chilled)|
|8 ounces||200 grams||Butter (frozen)|
|Water to mix|
|Jar of sweet mince meat (commercial or home-made)|
|Caster sugar for dusting|
To make the rough puff pastry, place the flour in a large bowl.
Quickly grate the butter in to the bowl using the largest cutting side of a box grater.
Use a knife to mix the butter and flour.
Add the first cold water and mix with the knife – some of the mixture will start forming a dough.
Keep adding water in small amounts until the dough starts to form a single ball. Towards the end, just dipping your hands in water can stop you adding too much!
Form the dough in to a single ball and chill in a plastic bag in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to form a rectangle.
Fold one short end of the rectangle in to the middle and repeat with the other end. Fold again so that you have four layers. Return to bag and chill in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
Repeat the rolling and chilling.
Remove the sweet shortcrust pastry from the fridge and roll out on a floured surface.
Cut circles of pastry and line your tin.
Place tin in fridge.
Roll out rough puff pastry and cut lids for the pies – return the pastry and lids to the fridge.
Take the tin out of the fridge and fill each about two-thirds with mincemeat and top each.
Take the lids out of the fridge and brush the edges of each with beaten egg then press firmly over each pie.
Return tin to fridge for 20 minutes.
Heat the oven to Gas Mark 7 (425 Fahrenheit; 220 Celsius).
Brush the pie lids with beaten egg and make a hole in each for any steam to escape.
Cook pies for 15 minutes and then reduce to Gas Mark 5 (375 Fahrenheit; 190 Celsius) for a further 5-10 minutes until pastry looks golden brown on top and feels crisp.
Dust with caster sugar.
Shortcrust makes a firm base for these little pies while the rough puff tops have extra crunch.
The amounts of pastry needed will vary depending on the size and number of pies you are making. This amount of Rough Puff made 12 lids with enough remaining to make sausage rolls.
A clear shelf in the fridge will help as this pastry works best if everything is kept chilled: the flour and bowl, the pastry between rolling outs, the tin before filling. Working quickly will mean that the pastry is never out of the fridge for too long.
The amount of mincemeat might seem mean but it can easily boil out of the pies if over-filled.
Orange or lemon zest, chopped nuts, a dash of brandy or a pinch of spice can all cheer up a commercial mincemeat.
If there are any scraps of pastry, stack them on top of each other to keep the layers (rather than rolling in to a ball) before rolling out again.
Once the lids have been pressed on, the whole tin can be stored in the fridge overnight until ready to cook. The tin can also be placed in the freezer and then individual frozen pies removed and kept in the freezer until needed.
Penny Melville-Brown OBE
Disability Dynamics ltd www.disabilitydynamics.co.uk
Helping disabled people to work since 2000