Vegetarian Mince Pies – crisp flaky golden pastry and rich fruity brandy-infused mincemeat and all ready in just over half an hour. Your kitchen will be filled with delicious seasonal baking aromas and you will be able to offer everyone, veggies and meat-eaters, a warm pie fresh from the oven. If you want to get into the Christmas baking vibe, without doing anything too complicated or time consuming, then this is your go-to recipe.
In a world where there is a proliferation of good-quality ready-made Mince Pies, I think it is still worth making your own as it is an easy short-cut to seasonal baking bliss without too much effort. At this time of the year, spending an hour or so making these beauties, ignoring the cold outside, is just what I want to do.
Pimp your pies…
This is my manifesto for Mince Pie making heaven.
- I think home-made Mincemeat is best and I have a recipe on this blog. However, you do need to make it in advance and, frankly, you may not have either the time or inclination to do this. Using shop-bought mincemeat is absolutely fine but try and go for one that is good quality. If you are using shop-bought mincemeat, you can add a teaspoon of brandy or port to the mixture, which will really lift the flavour, or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice if you don’t want to use alcohol. Adding some grated orange or lemon peel is also good.
- Whether you are using home-made or shop-bought mincemeat, you can add an additional hidden treat to your pies. I will sometimes add the following to each pie, on top of the mincemeat filling, before putting on the pastry lid: a chunk of marzipan, a few dried cranberries, a piece of dark chocolate, a glace cherry or a lump of cheese.
- Again, I think home-made pastry is best. It has a buttery crispness which even good quality ready-made pastry doesn’t seem to have. It is also really easy to make your own pastry. However, again, you may not have the time or inclination to make your own. If you want to use shop-bought pastry, that is fine. Just make sure you get a brand that is “all butter” as it will generally taste better.
- You can go for different shaped “lids” for you pies but, honestly, stars are best. It is Christmas after all and you can’t get much more festive than a star!
- When you are baking your pies, make sure that the door to your kitchen is open so the smell of baking and alcohol-infused fruit spreads throughout your house.
- Without a doubt, mince pies are best eaten warm. If you are not eating them immediately, you can re-heat them by popping them in the oven at 180 C, 350 F or Gas Mark 4 for five minutes. You can eat them on their own. You can eat them with whipped or pouring cream (if you must). I eat mine with a lump of strong cheese (extra mature cheddar) and a glass of Pedro Ximenez sherry, if I can. Try it before you judge.
To make this recipe you will need
Vegetarian Mince PiesPrint
These easy Vegetarian Mince Pies combine crisp buttery pastry with rich, brandy-infused dried fruit. They are the taste of Christmas!
For the pastry:
- 275 g plain flour
- 125 g fat (I use a mix of half butter and half Trex as I think this makes the lightest pastry)
- A little water
For the filling:
- 1 large jar of mincemeat – see my easy Vegetarian Mincemeat recipe or use good quality shop-bought
- A little milk and caster sugar
- Set you oven to 180 C, 350 F or Gas Mark 4.
- Make the pastry. Put the flour in a bowl. Add the fat and combine – either by “rubbing in” by hand or processing – until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Season with salt and pepper. Add a little cold water (2-3 tbsp) and shape the mixture into a dough.
- If you have time, allow your pastry dough to rest for half an hour, wrapped in cling film, as this will make the resulting pastry more tender. If you do not have the time, don’t worry!
- Roll out the pastry on a floured surface so that it is as thin as possible.
- Using a round pastry cutter which is slightly larger than the depressions in your pie tin cut circles from your pastry. I use a 7.5 cm diameter pastry cutter which is fairly standard.
- Place a circle in each of the depressions in your pie tin.
- Put 2 teaspoons of mincemeat onto each pastry circle.
- Using a star shaped pastry cutter, cut stars from the remainder of the pastry. Place them on top of each mound of mincemeat.
- Paint the top of each star with a little milk using a pastry brush. Sprinkle with caster sugar. This will make the top of the pies golden and crunchy. (Some people add beaten egg instead but I always think it is a waste of an egg as you don’t need very much of it!)
- Put the pies in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. They will be done when the pastry is golden.
- Remove the pies from the tin immediately and place on a cooling rack.
- This quantity of pastry and mincemeat makes approximately 12 large pies. It will vary according to how thin you roll your pastry and the size of the depressions in you pie tin.
- This recipe is vegetarian (as long as you use vegetarian Mincemeat)
Keywords: Mince Pies, Christmas, baking