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Advent blogging – making your mince pies

For today's blog I was going to try and make a spurious link between recruitment and making mince pies, but as it’s a Sunday (and there's only so far you can stretch a point), we’re giving you a festive gift instead. Here's my recipe for the mince pies I’ll be making today. It’s broadly similar to Dan Lepard’s, but with some additions. Ideally the mincemeat needs at least week for the rum* to soak through it nicely.

Ingredients:
500g dried mixed fruit
2-3 sweet dessert apples, diced
about 200g each of mixed candied peel and glace cherries, diced
Zest of an orange and a lemon
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon each of ground cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger
125ml dark rum (or brandy if you prefer)

Mix everything up in a big bowl and squish tightly into clean jam jars/kilner jars. If you’re keeping it for longer than a week add a tablespoon more rum or brandy every so often.

I like a short crust pastry for mince pies, to make mine you’ll need 185g plain flour, 85g unsalted butter, pinch of salt, 1 egg yolk and a bit of cold water. Sift the flour and salt and whizz it up in a blender with the butter (or rub it in with your hands if you prefer). Pop the yolk in with a few tablespoons of water and mix it until it comes together (you might need to add more water). Wrap it in clingfilm and stick it in the fridge for 20 mins. Et voila – you now have pastry ready to roll out. They’ll need 12-15 mins in the oven at gas mark 6/200 degrees depending on how big you make them. Don’t forget to brush the tops with beaten egg before putting them in.

Finally – don’t eat too many at once!

-Gemma

*Ryan and I had a mince pie bake off in Borough Towers a few years ago, his recipe uses puff pastry and a lot less alcohol. If you ask him very nicely he might share his too.

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