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Recipe: Try Little Mince Pies for Traditional Holiday Dessert

Westhampton Beach Coobook author Margaret Johnson shares her recipe for Shortbread Mince Pies.

Mincemeat, one of the world’s oldest pie fillings, was esteemed as holiday fare in the era of Henry VII, who proclaimed Christmas a day of feasting in England. In Elizabethan times, huge mince pies were made during the 12 days of Christmas, and it became customary for guests to be offered a piece whenever they visited. Mince pies are often baked as little pies or tarts and are perfect with tea, coffee, or mulled wine. While most are made with pastry, these pies are actually individual shortbread cookies filled with mincemeat. Cheers!

Shortbread Mince Pies

Makes 20-24 pies

Shortbread

3 cups all-purpose flour                                   

1/2 cup sugar                                                  

2 sticks chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces                                               

1 large egg yolk                                                    

5-8 tbsp. ice water 

Filling

1 1/4 cups prepared mincemeat

2 tbsp. Irish whiskey                                             

confectioners’ sugar for dusting

1. Combine the flour, sugar, and butter in a food processor. Pulse 8-10 times, or until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg yolk and water and process for 10-20 seconds, or until the dough comes together. Gather the dough and press it together until it forms a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

2. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

3. Dust a work surface with flour. Cut the dough in half. Roll out each half to a 1/4-in.-thick round. With a 3-in. cookie cutter, cut out 18-20 rounds. Place half the rounds on the prepared baking sheet, spacing 1 in. apart.

4. In a small bowl, combine the mincemeat and whiskey. Put 1 tsp. mincemeat in the center of each pastry round and then cover with a plain pastry round. Press the edges with a fork to seal and then brush with a little water. Pierce the tops with a fork.

5. Bake the pies for 25-27 minutes, or until lightly browned. Transfer the pies to a wire rack to cool. Roll out and fill the remaining half of the dough, then gather the scraps, reroll, and make additional pies. Dust the cooled pies with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

For more recipies, click here.

Editor's Note: Margaret M. Johnson, of Westhampton Beach, is the author of six cookbooks and her latest cookbook called, Flavors of Ireland was released on Amazon on Feb. 23.

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