Getting your mince pies just right this christmas

Mince pies and Christmas go together like holly & ivy...the festive season just wouldn't be the same without them! Getting your mince pies just right for Christmas doesn't have to be difficult or time consuming, there's plenty of ways you can give your mince pies the 'wow' factor this year. Take a look at these fabulous alternatives.

Pastry Options:

Cooked pastry pockets, with a delicious filling Uncooked pastry cases in cake mould, with mince pie filling Puff pastry cakes arranged on a plate
Whether you make your own pastry or buy ready-made you can ring the changes by using filo or puff pastry, as well as traditional shortcrust. Thin layers of filo pastry make a great alternative to shortcrust. They have a crisp crunch that is deliciously moreish without the density of other pastry types. Ready-made fil0 sheets is the best option, they can be used to line a cake tray or made into bite-size parcel. Shortcrust is the traditional base for mince pies. Light and crumbly, you can make your own or buy ready-to-use. When you make your own shortcrust pastry you can add the zest of a lemon or orange, or even cocoa powder to make them even more scrumptious. Puff pastry will give you beautiful light mince pies. Again, use ready-made (even the top chefs do!) and use it for the base and the top.

Spice Them Up:

A glass bowl containing mince pie filling Raisins, dates, prunes arranged on a flat surface Pistachio nuts
If you're looking for the ultimate mince pie you'll have to add in your own 'wow' factor to shop bought mincemeat. Empty a jar of mincemeat into a clean bowl and simply add whatever extras you want. For adults a good slug of brandy or cognac will add to the festive cheer, while cinnamon adds a fragrant treat. If there's no one with a nut allergy adding chopped walnuts, pistachios or hazelnuts brings another dimension to the taste and texture.

Tasty Toppings:

Cookies in the oven, with swirly icing on the top Fancy mince pies on a plate, decorating with icing sugar Mince pies with a top that looks like a Viennese swirl
Too much pastry can be, well...simply too much! This year change the classical pastry lid for something else. Meringue is a well come treat that is quick and easy to do. Whip up meringue and either pipe or spoon it on the top. Be careful meringue burns very easily, so tray baking the untopped mince pie first to ensure the pastry case is cooked (you don't want a soggy bottom!) and then put the meringue on top and either pop back in the oven or use a blow torch to brown. Crumble makes a wonderful topping for mince pies. Add extras, such as chopped nuts, orange zest or dried cranberries to give the classical mince pie a new lease of life. Viennese toppings will take your mince pies to the next level. This melt-in-the-mouth topping is both elegant and sophisticated.

Break from Tradition:

Puff pastry mince pies Dark chocolate cookie mince pies Open top mince pies with Christmas icing shapes on the top
Shape shifting is an excellent way to give mince minces a modern look. Squares, spirals and rectangles are ideal shapes. You can never have enough chocolate over the festive season. Chocolate mince pies are naughty, but oh so nice! Add a tasty touch of colour to mince pies but replace the topping with fondant icing cut into seasonal shapes and decorate with coloured sugar balls. The tradition of mince pies lives on in most people's homes during Christmas and yet times and tastes have changed, so this year opt for a mince pie that tempts your taste buds into eating 'just one more'! Sources:
  • [1] – Pastry Options – Bariatric Cookery, Delicious Magazine, Food Network
  • [2] – Spice Them Up – Food, Huang Kitchen, Delia online
  • [3] – Tasty Toppings – The Pink Whisk,Bake with Stork, Sunday Baking Club
  • [4] – Break from Tradition – Good To Know, BBC, Big Commerce

For more inspiration then why not browse through our Christmas Shop.

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