VIENNESE WHIRL MINCE PIES

Mince pies are quite simply a must at Christmas. And don’t worry, I’ll let you use shop bought mincemeat. In fact, the cheapest, sweetest mincemeat is best here to balance with the crisp pastry and the buttery biscuit top, which just disappears in the mouth like a snowflake on the tongue.

Ingredients - makes 12

For the Pastry

  • 200g plain flour
  • 1tsp mixed spice
  • 100g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 large egg

(Or use 300g shop-bought Shortcrust)

For the Filling and Topping

  • 12tsp mincemeat (about 170g)
  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 150g plain flour
  • 30g cornflour
  • 30g icing sugar, plus extra to dust

Essential Equipment

  • 12-hole bun tray, greased
  • Piping bag fitted with large star nozzle

Method

For the pastry, toss together the flour and mixed spice then rub through the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Beat the egg then add that and cut it in using a dough scraper or butter knife - if a little dry, add cold water a drop at a time. Once the pastry comes together, flatten into a disk wrapped in cling, and chill for at least 30 minutes.

For the Viennese whirl topping, beat the butter until it is very soft indeed. Add the flour, cornflour and icing sugar and beat until you have a very smooth paste – like a thick buttercream. This is best done in a KitchenAid fitted with paddle attachment, though can be done with a handheld electric whisk.

Once chilled, roll out the pastry as thin as you dare on a floured surface, and use to line the bun tray holes – use a cookie cutter to ensure perfect disks. Fill each pastry case with a teaspoon of mincemeat. Load the piping bag with the Viennese paste, and pipe a neat spiral on top of each mince pie – don’t worry if the spiral doesn’t totally cover the mincemeat, as it will spread in the oven. Place into the fridge for 30 minutes to harden. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas mark 6.

Once the mince pies have chilled, bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the biscuit tops are just starting to turn a light golden brown. Cool in the bun tray, then remove and dust with icing sugar.