Mongrel Mince Pies with ‘Kourambié’ Pastry

This recipe has two parts, one for the pastry and one for ‘pimping’ the mincemeat. This pastry is rich and sweet, with almost the texture of shortbread – very much like the traditional Greek biscuits, Kourabiédes.  ‘Pimping’ the mincemeat with chopped  walnuts, dates and figs makes it more fruity and luscious. The raw pastry freezes well, if you want to make it ahead and the mincemeat will keep in the fridge for a week or so.

Ingredients for the ‘Kourambié’ Pastry

580 gm plain flour – you will need a bit extra as well, for rolling out the pastry.

80 gm ground almonds

340 gm butter, cut into small pieces

170 gm icing sugar, sifted

Zest of a lemon

2 egg yolks, beaten

5 tablespoons milk – and a little extra for assembling the pies.

Making the pastry

Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl, add the ground almonds.

Add the butter and ‘rub’ it in to the flour and almond mixture with your fingers, until it resembles breadcrumbs.

Add the sifted icing sugar and the lemon zest and stir in with a knife.

Add the beaten egg yolk and half the milk and mix into the dry ingredients until you have a soft dough. You may need to add the rest of the milk during mixing if it needs it.

(Obviously all of this can also be done in a food processor.)

Cover the pastry with cling film and allow to rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before rolling it out.

This quantity of pastry will make 48 mince pies.

‘Pimped’ Mincemeat 

410 gm jar of mincemeat – it doesn’t have to be a very fancy one as you’re going to add lots of nice things !

50 gm chopped walnuts

80 gm chopped ‘ready to eat’ dried figs

80 gm chopped ‘ready to eat’ dried apricots

80 gm chopped ‘ready to eat’ dried dates

40 gm chopped cranberries

1 medium apple, peeled and diced

1 tablespoon brandy

1 teaspoon orange blossom water (optional)

Cloves – for decoration (optional)

Put the mincemeat into a good sized mixing bowl and add all the chopped nuts and fruit. Add the brandy and orange flower water, if using it, and mix well. This is enough mincemeat for 48 mince pies.


Assembling the pies

You will need 4 x 12 hole ‘patty’ tins. Lightly grease them with a bit of buttered paper.

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees.

Take the pastry from the fridge and put onto a lightly floured work surface.

Roll out until it is quite thin with a floured rolling pin. This is a soft pastry and it’s important not to handle it too much as it will become sticky – the stickiness can be controlled by keeping the work surface and the rolling pin dusted with flour.

Using a pastry cutter, or a glass, cut out discs of pastry approximately 7cm diameter – you will need 2 discs for each pie.

Line the patty tins with half the pastry discs and put a small spoonful of the mincemeat into each. Now use the rest of the discs as pie tops.

Brush the edge of each of these discs with a little milk before positioning and gently press them all the way round to form a seal.  Don’t brush the tops with milk or beaten egg – they do not need a glaze.

Put the pies in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes until a light golden colour.

Carefully remove the pies from the patty tins and allow to cool on a cooling rack. If required, a clove can be inserted into the top of each pie.

When they are cool, dust liberally with icing sugar and serve.