Chef’s Recipe: Mince Pies

 

Our Head Chef Gareth is passionate about cooking delicious seasonal dishes at The Wheatsheaf, using some top-secret ingredients and techniques passed down from generations of family members. However, one recipe he is more than willing to share is his delicious festive mince pies.

“They are simply perfect” says Gareth, and encourages you to give them a try to impress your guests over the festive season.

 

The mince pie filling

Ingredients:

  • 500g roughly chopped Bramley apples
  • 80g flaked almonds
  • 4tsp ground mixed spices
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 whole freshly grated nutmeg
  • 110ml Brandy
  • 200g shredded suet (use vegetable suet if you want vegetarian friendly mince pies)
  • 400g raisins
  • 300g sultanas
  • 300g dried redcurrents
  • 300g finely chopped candied orange peel (use the zest of 3 oranges if you can’t find peel)
  • 400g dark brown sugar
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100ml orange juice
  • 20ml lemon juice

The method:

  • Place all ingredients in a large thick bottomed pan, except for the brandy
  • Using your hands mix together all the ingredients evenly
  • Place mixture on a low heat, ensuring to mix with a wooden spoon every 15 minutes to stop the bottom of the pan catching
  • After 2-3 hours, this should start to resemble mince pie filling
  • Ensure that most of the moisture has been removed in the cooking process and leave to cool covering the pan with a damp towel
  • Once cooled add the brandy and set aside

 

The pastry

Ingredients:

  • 500g plain flour (sieved)
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 1 tsp semi skimmed milk

The method:

  • Place the flour and icing sugar in a large bowl
  • Using a grater, grate the butter into the bowl (one of my great chef secrets!)
  • Using your hands, rub the flour and butter together to form a crumbly texture
  • Add the orange zest, eggs and milk and bring the mixture together to form the pastry
  • Add the pastry on a floured surface until it has bound together
  • Roll pastry into a ball then press flat and wrap in cling film.
  • Refrigerate for 2 hours to allow the pastry to rest

 

To make the pies

  • Roll the pastry out on a floured surface, ensuring it is even and around 5mm thick
  • Use a pastry brush to coat your tart cases with melted butter (muffin trays will also work)
  • Sprinkle the tart cases with flour then turn upside down to remove the excess flour. This will ensure the pastry doesn’t stick to the tart cases
  • Use a cutting ring (or a saucer and cut around using a knife) to form disks, then gently push the pastry into your cases leaving a lip over the edge
  • Fill your tarts with the mince pie filling
  • Cut smaller disks out for the tops and brush the under sides with egg yolk (you can of course make your own shapes for the top if you want to add your own artistic flair to them!)
  • Use your fingers to press the lids and pie cases together and cut away any excess pastry
  • Brush the tops with egg yolk and bake in an oven at 180°c or gas mark 6, for 25 minutes or until golden brown

Enjoy cold or warm with a spoon of brandy butter and a glass of mulled wine!

 

 

Try Gareth’s delicious dishes for yourself; book online to enjoy a meal at The Wheatsheaf.