One Christmas I was making some mince pies. I’d weighed my flour and as I went to the fridge for the butter, I found that I only had half the amount of butter that was needed. Instead of ditching my Christmas baking (or run to the shop for more butter), I decided to make up the butter shortfall with some baking margarine. This has been one of the best baking accidents I have ever had. This pastry comes out very short, crumbly and light. I love this recipe and now use it as the basis for all my sweet pastry bakes.
115g Cold Butter in cubes
115g Baking margarine
100g Caster sugar
350g Plain flour
Weigh out the flour and add in the baking margarine (in chunks), and the cubes of butter.
Roll up your sleeves and get your hands in the bowl. Rub the margarine and butter into the flour and work until you have formed a breadcrumb consistency. Then add in the sugar and combine.
Add in the egg and combine using a knife. The knife method is quite old school, but it was the way I was taught how to make pastry by my Mum, so I have always stuck to this method.
Tip out the mixture onto your worktop and begin working it to form a dough.
You can either use the dough straight away, or wrap in clingfilm and pop into the fridge until you are ready to use it. It is always best to pop it into the fridge for an hour or so if you can. The pastry will keep to up to 3 days in the fridge.
When you are ready to make your pies, roll out your pastry and using two different sizes of round cutters, cut out your pie bases and the lids. Pop the pastry bases into a greaseproof muffin tray. As I was making deep filled mince pies, add in a dessert spoonful of mince meat (you can make mince meat – but who has time for that? I got mine from a supermarket – easy peasy).
Brush some beaten egg around the edges of the filled pies and then place the lids on top. Using two fingers, press firmly on the lids so it joins the pastry base to seal your pies. Brush the lids with your egg wash and add a sprinkle of caster sugar on the top.
Bake at 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6 for 25-30 minutes, until light brown in colour and they are cooked through (we don’t want any soggy bottoms)!
Eat warm, eat cold, just eat and enjoy! Merry Christmas!