Pâte Sablée Mince pies

You can’t beat a home made mincemeat pie with crumbly pastry and that buttery goodness that shop bought pies quite simply don’t have. Last year I laboured over home made puff pastry with its many folds and turns but this year I’ve elected for the easier “Pâte Sablée” which is a more delicate pastry that melts in the mouth like no other. The pastry is in fact so delicate that easing the pies from the baking tray was an act of love that called for very gentle hands and the use of a miniature spatula to ensure they stayed in one piece ready for my guests.

Traditionally mincemeat pies are covered with a full pastry lid but as I love the mincemeat filling I find I can fit a little extra in if I opt for an open pie covered with pastry stars. Served warm and topped with a spoonful of brandy butter they are one of my all time favourite christmas treats.

As I mentioned in my earlier “Christmas dinner” post I was asked to explain why mincemeat pies are thus called when there is in fact no meat in them? Thank you Mr Internet for providing the answer. I discovered that in ancient times there was originally a mix of meat, beef suet and fruit contained in the filling and I presume the name has stuck even though modern day versions tend to favour just chopped fruit, distilled spirits, vegetable suet and mixed spices. As the ingredients fermented and became sweeter so mincemeat became used more as a dessert filling and less as a savoury one. Lucky for us! So here is my take on the traditional Christmas mincemeat pie.

Mince Pies & Pastry Sablee

Ingredients: (for the pastry) 250g plain flour, 200g butter, 100g icing sugar, pinch salt, 2 egg yolks and egg white to brush over the pies before baking and (for the filling)jar or home made mincemeat. makes approx. 24 mincemeat pies.

Preparation: 15 mins + 1 hour Chilling + 15 mins

1. Place the flour on a cool work surface and create a well in the centre.

2. Chop the slightly softened butter in the well with the icing sugar and salt and mix with your fingertips.

3. Add in the egg yolks and continue to work the mix with your fingertips, gradually drawing in the flour until you have a dough ball.

4. Using the palm of your hand, push the dough away from you a few times until it is completed combined and smooth then wrap immediately in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least an hour before use. It is important not to knead the dough like you would do bread as pastry needs to be manipulated as little as possible.

5. Once chilled, roll out using a rolling pin to approx. 3mm thick and cut your disks the size to suit your baking tray. Make sure you prepare the tray by buttering the pie cases so the pies will come out easily once baked.

6. Place the pastry disks in the tray and spoon in your mincemeat filling.

7. Cover with pastry disks or, like me, pastry stars and bake for 10-12 mins at 180C.

Eat warm with brandy butter. Delicious!

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Comments
3 Responses to “Pâte Sablée Mince pies”
  1. chef mimi says:

    I first saw these when I attended a high tea at browns hotel in London. Beautiful and gorgeous!

  2. chefregents says:

    Reblogged this on Chef Regent's and commented:
    Well, Christmas isn’t far away!

  3. Karen says:

    I love mincemeat pie and I love your little individual ones. They remind me of a British friend of mine that made similar ones each Christmas. Yours are lovely and must be delicious.

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