A twist on a Christmas classic.
All you need for this recipe is shop-bought shortcrust pastry, a jar of mincemeat, an egg and some coarse sugar. Oh, and brandy cream (see tip below).
This recipe isn’t about laziness, nor is it about making things into a festive shape just for appearances. (Though, it does have the added benefits of being perfectly lazy and festive.)
The benefits of this recipe are many. In effort to convince you to try this slightly unorthodox preparation of the traditional mince pie, I list them thus:
- Pre-rolled, shop-bought shortcrust pastry is slightly more durable than homemade, and will be exactly the same thickness all the way across. Ideal for achieving a consistent twist.
- The ratio of mince pie filling to pastry seems to work better in twists. Instead of big pockets of filling and patches of thick pastry, the two exist in perfect harmony throughout the twist.
- The pastry seems to get slightly crisper, rich and sticky. Fabulous.
- Mince pie twists make the perfect vessel for dunking into my favourite Christmas treat: brandy cream. Fork optional.
- To that end, they are properly portable. The perfect festive treat to take with you on a long country walk…
In case I haven’t convinced you yet, just wait until you’ve read the method. Easy as pie.
Makes 32 mince pie twists
Unroll a sheet of ready-rolled, shop-bought shortcrust pastry (375g) onto a board. Spread out an entire jar (411g) of good-quality mincemeat on half the pastry. No need to leave a border. Fold the pastry over and press down lightly.
At this stage, you may want to pop the stuffed, folded pastry in the freezer to firm up for five minutes or so.
Meanwhile, line a baking tray with parchment paper. Set aside.
Using a sharp knife, cut the pastry into quarters, then cut each quarter into four strips, lengthwise (to give 16 strips total).
Depending on how warm your kitchen is, you may find it easiest to pop the strips back in the freezer for another ten minutes before attempting the twists.
Lift each strip gently (try not to stretch it) and twist each end in opposite directions until you have a twist all the way across. Lay on the parchment-lined baking tray, then press the ends of each twist down to secure.
Freeze the tray for ten minutes or so, then cut each twist in half, to give 32 twists in total. Add a little extra twisting here or there to keep the twist effect going, if necessary.
At this stage, you can bake straightaway or freeze. If you’re freezing, let them freeze solid on the baking tray, then transfer to a freezer bag or airtight container and freeze until needed.
To bake, preheat your oven to 400F / 200C / 190C Fan. Place the twists on a parchment-lined baking tray. Brush the top of each twist with beaten egg, then lightly sprinkle over some coarse sugar. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes, or until golden brown on the bottom (this will signal the pastry is cooked). Let cool on the tray for a minute or two, then transfer to a cooling rack. Serve warm or cold, always with brandy cream.
Tip: If you can’t get brandy cream, simply add a little sugar and a splash of brandy to some double cream. Whip until thick – not even soft peaks – and refrigerate until needed. Keeps for 3 days.