For Pyes of Mutton or Beefe…
Shred your meat and Suet togither fine, season it with cloves, mace, Pepper, and same Saffron, great Raisins, Corance and prunes, and so put it into your Pyes.
: A recipe from ‘A Book of Cookrye, Very Necessary for all such as delights therein’, which is a fabulous little book, written in 1591. It’s written by cooks for cooks (and back then, the only people in need of cookbooks were those preparing meals for the gentry or royalty), so the ingredients are rich and exotic – veritable of high praise at the dinner table. The recipes are all similar to the one above. As I said, it’s written for cooks, so the author doesn’t dally around giving the reader weights and measures or detailed instructions. He simply says ‘and so put it into your Pyes’. If you don’t know how to make a pie, then you shouldn’t be calling yourself a cook. In fact, you shouldn’t even be reading this Book of Cookrye! Put it down. Put it down right now and come back when you’re worthy!
Thankfully, cookery has come a long way since then. Recipes and ingredients are available to us muggles. Even more thankfully, the mince pie has also come a long way, evolving from meat to sweet.
This recipe nudges evolution on a wee bit by adding an orangey crumble topping and I personally think it is a game-changer.
RECIPE: Mince Pie Crumbles
FLAVOUR PROFILE: Sweet, crumbly with hints of orange and spice
GOES GREAT WITH: Warmed up with a scoop of ice-cream, a drizzle of cream or simply on its own with a cup of tea (or a glass of Sherry if you are leaving one out for Father Christmas)
NOTES: The dough is super short and crumbles easily when you are working with it, but in saying that, it is also super forgiving. I patched up any cracks I had after lining the cases and spent a few minutes moulding the pastry. The result was a little rustic, but hey, you’re covering the top with crumble, so you can afford for your pastry-work to be somewhat artistic.
MAKES: 15 mince pies when using a standard muffin tin.
For the pastry
- 225g (8oz) PLAIN FLOUR, plus extra for dusting the board when rolling
- 50g (1.8oz) GROUND ALMONDS
- 50g (1.8oz) GRANULATED SUGAR, white
- 125g (4.4oz) BUTTER, chilled and diced
- 1 VANILLA POD, halved vertically and seeds scraped out with the back of a knife
- 1 EGG YOLK
- 800g (28oz) MINCEMEAT (Try this Fig, Ginger & Chocolate recipe)
For the crumble
- 75g (2.6oz) PLAIN FLOUR
- 6 tbsp. DEMERERA SUGAR
- 60g (2.1oz) BUTTER
- 1 ORANGE, zested
- 1 tsp. MIXED SPICE
- Make the pastry first. Put the PLAIN FLOUR, GROUND ALMONDS, SUGAR, BUTTER and VANILLA SEEDS in a food processor. Mix together until you’ve got crumbs.
- Add the EGG YOLK and 1 tablespoon of WATER. Pulse the mixture until a dough comes together. If you need to, add another tablespoon of water.
- Turn out onto your worktop and bring the dough together, gently kneading until smooth. Wrap in cling film and put in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the crumble. In the food processor (don’t worry about cleaning it), add the FLOUR, DEMERERA SUGAR, BUTTER, ORANGE ZEST and MIXED SPICE. Pulse until you get a chunky crumble texture. Do not over-pulse or you’ll find yourself with another batch of dough!
- Preheat oven to 190c. FLOUR a work surface and roll out the chilled pastry. Stamp out rounds using a pastry cutter big enough to line your tin all the way up the sides. Mould the pastry with your fingers, smoothing and fixing any cracks. Gather the trimmings and re-roll until the dough is all used up.
- Drop one heaped tablespoon of MINCEMEAT into the cases and sprinkle the crumble over the top. It’s up to you how much crumble you use as it is down to personal taste. I was very generous with my crumble and practically drowned my pies with it because I love the stuff!
- Bake for 15-18 minutes until the tops are golden and crunchy.
- Cool in the tin for a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Enjoy! Be wary that straight from the oven, the mince pie filling will be hotter than the surface of the sun. Don’t ask me how I know that, just maybe give it a few minutes before you gobble them up.