Small chopped Bramley apples 400g
Mixed spice 3tsp
Nutmeg 1/2 tsp
Sherry 6 tbsp
Shredded suet 225g
Mixed candied peel 225g
Dark brown sugar 300g
Oranges zest and juice 2
Lemon zest and juice 1
Plain flour 350g
Lard, diced 75g
Butter, diced 75g
Mince pie filling:
1. Mix all the ingredients, excluding the sherry, in a large mixing bowl, stirring them and mixing them together until thoroughly combined.
2. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and leave the mixture in a cool place overnight or for 12 hours, this so the flavours have a chance to develop. When ready to cook, pre-heat the Aquaforno oven with fuel of your choice to 110°C.
3. Cover the bowl loosely with foil and place it in the oven for 2 hours. After the 2 hours, remove the bowl from the oven. The mincemeat will look like it is swimming in fat – that’s okay, don’t worry!
4. As it cools, stir it from time to time; the fat will mix in and, instead of it being in tiny shreds, it will encase all the other ingredients.
5. When the mincemeat is cold, stir well again and add the sherry.
6. Pack in jars that have been sterilized. When filled, cover with waxed discs and seal.
**The mincemeat will keep well in a cool, dark cupboard for a year or two. Vegetarians can make this mincemeat easily using vegetarian suet.
Short crust pastry:
1. Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and rub the fats into it until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. (*If you are making this recipe at home, you could also use a food processor if you have one and pulse the mix!)
2. Add cold water little by little to mix the fine crumbs to a dough that leaves the bowl clean. Take out of the bowl and wrap in cling film.
3. Leave the pastry dough to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Lightly flour the surface and then roll half of it out as thinly as possible and cut it into two dozen 3 inch (7.5 cm) rounds, gathering up the scraps and re-rolling.
4. Then do the same with the other half of the pastry, this time using the 2½ inch (6 cm) cutter.
5. Grease the pastry tins lightly and line them with the larger rounds.
6. Fill these with mincemeat to the level of the edges of the pastry. Dampen the edges of the smaller rounds of pastry with water and press them lightly into position to form lids, sealing the edges.
7. Brush each one with milk and make three snips in the tops with a pair of scissors.
8. Bake near the top of the oven for 25-30 minutes until light golden brown.
9. Cool on a wire tray and sprinkle with icing sugar. When cool, store in an airtight container.