Mince pies have been eaten as part of a traditional British Christmas since as long ago as the 16th century. Then, they were made of meat along with spices and fruit and alcohol to preserve the meat.Now, mincepies are made with sweet mincemeat; a mixture of dried fruits, sugar, spices, suet and brandy.
When mincemeat is made in the English kitchen, all the family takes turns in stirring and making a secret wish. The mixture is always stirred clockwise To stir in a counter-clockwise direction is to ask for trouble in the coming year!
You can buy mincemeat in speciality stores, but use my recipe - its more fun and the taste can't be beaten!
We now need the recipe for the pastry.
2/1/2 cups flour
pinch of salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, chilled and cut into pieces
6-7 tbs cold water (iced is better)
Sift the flour and salt
Rub the butter and shortening in using fingertips till you get a breadcrumb like consistency
Add the water bit by bit until the mixture begins to combine.
Shape into a ball and refrigerate for about 30 mins.