For me, Christmas is not Christmas without mince pies and from mid November onwards I jump at any excuse to make a batch or two. I love nothing more than sitting in front of a turf fire nibbling on mince pies and drinking hot tea. Whilst I love traditional mince pies, I’m always on the lookout for new recipes using mincemeat that evoke all the flavours of Christmas but are a little different.
I often make these shortcake bars and they always seem to go down a treat with unexpected visitors during the festive period. Because of the use of self-raising flour, the pastry has a softer texture when baked than that used in conventional mince pies but it makes a nice change and people really seem to like them.
– 240g self-raising flour
– 15g icing sugar
– 125g cold butter, cubed
– 1 large egg, lightly beaten
– 30ml cold water
– 1 jar (approximately 400g or so) mincemeat
– 2 tbsp brandy
– 2 tbsp caster sugar
1. Preheat the oven to Fan Oven to 180C/Fan Oven 160C/Gas Mark 4.
2. Line a 30cm x 20cm traybake tin with non-stick baking parchment and set aside.
3. Place the flour and icing sugar into a large mixing bowl and add the cubed butter. Rub the butter into the flour using the tips of your fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre and add the egg and water. Mix everything together using a fork until it comes together.
4. Turn out on to a lightly floured work surface and knead briefly and shape into a ball.
5. Divide the dough in half. Press one half of the dough into the bottom of the prepared tin flattening it out with your fingers or the back of a metal spoon to create a level surface.
6. Mix the mincemeat and brandy together in a small bowl and then spoon onto the pastry in the traybake tin, spreading it out evenly.
7. Roll the other half of the dough between two sheets of flour non-stick baking parchment paper into a rectangle the same size as the tin (i.e. 30cms x 20cms).
8. Remove the top sheet of parchment paper and lift the rolled out pastry on the other sheet of parchment, flip it over to cover the mincemeat filling. Tuck in the edges of the pastry making sure that the filling is covered.
9. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until light golden brown. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the caster sugar. Set aside to cool before cutting into 16 bars.
Niamh believes Ireland produces some of the best food in the world, and travels around the country; seeking out the best food producers, and places to eat.
An accomplished cook and baker, Niamh is also a previous MasterChef Ireland finalist. During the competition she had the opportunity to cook in some of Ireland’s top restaurants and experience life on the other side of the kitchen pass.
Working with TheTaste allows Niamh to write about her experiences and to share her passion for food and cooking with a wide audience.
Visit Niamh’s blog The Game Bird Food Chronicles.