Food & Drink Magazine

Why Making Fruit Mince Pies Will Be the Death of You – Part 2 (the Pastry)

By Clevermuffin

One perfect fruit mince pie

I must write this quickly, before the endorphins from the sugar kick in and I forget how hard the past seven hours were.

You see, someone needs to tell the truth. Someone needs to stop fooling people about recipes and ‘whipping up’ something simple and start talking real talk.

So here it is.

Making fruit mince pies from scratch is *probably* not worth the effort.

There. I said it.

And I can say it because between me and a friend today we made over 40 fruit mince pies.

Why making fruit mince pies will be the death of you – part 2 (the pastry)

The problem is, a little like child birth, once it’s over, the mess is cleaned up and all you have left is this little parcel of joy, you forget all the pain. So for once I am blogging in real time, while the memory is still fresh, so you will know what really happens.

For those of you who read part 1 (the fruit mince) you’ll know my friend Tenille and I are scientifically trying to work out the best every fruit mince pie recipe. Here are the two fruit mince recipes we have tried.

Fruit mince

Here we are, earlier in the day (that’s Tenille on the right with the rolling pin, saying to put the camera down).

Tenille and me earlier today
And after making pastry, rolling pastry, breaking pastry, having fruit mince pies stick to trays, getting fruit mince in our hair, spilling flour on the floor, having the pastry fall apart and then doing that again, and again, and again, this if us later in the day:

Aimee and Tenille looking tired
In all fairness, fruit mince pies weren’t our only debacles today.

It did NOT help when my boyfriend came home half way through the day all banged up after falling off his bike. He’d had to crash his bike to avoid hitting a pram – that a woman pushed out on to the road from between two parked cars without looking to see if anything was on the road.

Note to pram woman: prams are NOT walking canes you use to test if something is in front of you. (I’m sure people will love me for the below pic.)

No prams

However, it DID help hugely when Tenille’s boyfriend bought burgers over at lunch time. (Sometimes when I eat burgers I turn into a Japanese cartoon character. It’s a condition, I’m looking into it).

Eating burge

We also researched and tried two different pastry recipes. Mine used custard powder and had port added to it. Tenille’s was more of a typical shortbread pastry.

Why making fruit mince pies will be the death of you – part 2 (the pastry)

And then we rolled our pastry between baking paper.

Roll pastry between two sheets

We used wine glasses, mugs and cookie cutters to get all our shapes right.

Why making fruit mince pies will be the death of you – part 2 (the pastry)

Then we put them in a variety of tins.

Put pastry in tins

As we are trying two types of pastries with two different types of mince, we have a key, to sort out different toppings from different filling. Our taste testers used this key to give us feedback.

Angel tops: Tenille’s filing, Aimee’s pastry – cooked in non-stick muffin tin.
Bell tops: Tenille’s filling, Tenille’s pastry – cooked in small, round fruit mince pie tins.
Circle tops: Tenille’s filling, Aimee’s pastry – cooked in small, round fruit mince pie tins.
Christmas tree tops: Aimee’s filling, Tenille’s pastry – cooked in flexible muffin tin.

Fruit mince pies

The results? Here’s what we learnt:

  1. From what I’ve heard from our taste testers Tenille’s mince with my pastry (round top) is the winner.
  2. Making fruit mince pies takes a very long time.
  3. Dusting with icing sugar hides a multitude of sins.
  4. The reason we think Tenille’s fruit mince is better is I did not add almonds and candied fruit peel to mine. I thought they would be strange. But turns out the tartness they add is completely necessary.
  5. My pastry, with the custard powder and port, was creamier, but slightly harder to work with.
  6. (From Tenille) Do not transport fruit mince pies home on a bike. Enough said.
  7. The smaller the fruit mince pie the better, the larger ones lacked structural integrity.
  8. Do no use a non-stick muffin tin, it is very, very hard to get them out. Typical round, shallow fruit mince pie tins are best, or the flexible muffin tins.

Use these types of tins!

When all is said is done, the fact we have over 40 fruit mince pies now cooling on my kitchen bench is very cool.

One perfect fruit mince

Right. I’m ordering take-in and watching some TV.

Aimee’s pastry recipe
1/3 cup self-raising flour
1 1/3 cups plain flour
¼ cup cornflour
¼ cup custard powder
½ cup icing sugar
125g butter, cold and diced
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon sherry/port/Grand Marnier and maybe a dash more

Method

  1. Chop up softened butter and place in bowl. Add all flours and sugar and combine with your hands.
  2. Mix yolk and sherry/port/Grand Marnier in a cup. Add to bowl and need with hands until all combined.
  3. Transfer mixture to bench top, form a disk, wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate until required (at least 45 minutes).

Tenille’s pastry recipe
185 grams butter
½ cup caster sugar
2 eggs
3 cups plain flour
1/3 cup rice flour
½ teaspoon baking powder

Method

  1. Cream butter and sugar, add eggs one at a time, beating well after each edition.
  2. Sift flour, rice flour and baking powder, work well into creamed mixture. Knead lightly until smooth.
  3. Transfer mixture to bench top, form a disk, wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate until required (at least 45 minutes).

Making the pies

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C and lightly grease mini muffin or shallow pie mould.
  2. Remove pastry dough from fridge and divide into two. In between two sheets of baking paper roll pastry out until about 3-5mm thick. Using a round cutter cut bases out for pies. You will need to test which size you will be using – I always use one just a bit bigger than the top measurements of your mould.
  3. Place pastry round in mound and press down. Top with fruit mince and another round of pastry or a star of pastry. Dust with caster sugar if desired.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes for smaller pies, 15 minutes for larger pies.
  5. Cool in trays, remove very, very carefully and dust with icing sugar if desired.

Healthy: Oh go away. I’m not working it out for four different kinds of pies. Let’s just say about 200 a pie.

Gluten free: No, sorry.

Storage: Pies can be kept for up to two weeks if stored in an airtight container.


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