Bake Off's Karen Wright shares her recipe for the perfect mince pies
I don’t know anyone that doesn’t like mince pies!
My Uncle David just cannot resist them, at a family party years ago he was found to be guilty of eating a whole plateful, one pie was just not enough.
Mince pies date right back to the thirteenth century when exotic ingredients like fruits, nuts and spices were brought back from the crusades.
The first mince pies were shaped into a rectangle and were meant to represent the manger at Bethlehem. Over the centuries the round individual pies evolved that we know today.
Many people wonder why they are called mince pies, do they have meat in the filling? The answer is that originally, they did indeed contain meat, often mutton, minced up into small bits, hence the name.
Now though they are generally vegetarian although some people still use beef suet in their fillings.
I have been busy making my mince pies and they are tucked away in my freezer ready for the festive season to start.
I make my own mincemeat and the recipe is on my website, it is as easy as can be to make but of course the jars in the shops are good and readily available.
This year I have changed the topping of my pies and instead of a pastry lid I have covered the filling with frangipane. Frangipane is a thick batter made using ground almonds.
This is how I make it. I beat 100g of softened butter with 100g caster sugar until light and fluffy.
To this I add two beaten eggs, 1 tablespoon of plain flour, 100g ground almonds and a teaspoon of almond essence. If the batter is very loose, I add a bit more flour.
Then I spoon this over the top of my mincemeat filling and smooth with a knife. I place a few flakes of ground almonds on the top and bake in a preheated oven at 180c for about twenty minutes until the topping is golden and set.
Not everyone enjoys baking their own treats and my Mum buys her mince pies from a supermarket, she swears by them and prefers them to mine, cheek of it!
Next week I will be sharing my Christmas day starter with you, this year it is soup, totally delicious, with a festive twist and already made, ticked off the to do list and is chilling in the freezer!