I can’t believe my mince pies

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Feast your eyes on these beauties - Christmas would not be the same without homemade Christmas mince pies!

We hope you have now mastered making pastry (last week’s In the kitchen feature)as this week we are going to use that pastry to make some mince pies.

A mince pie is a small British fruit based mincemeat sweet pie traditionally served during the Christmas season. We however are going to add a twist to it by adding some Italian meringue to the top. This will look lovely if you are planning to present it to your guests on Christmas day!

You can make your own fresh mincemeat but any good quality store will stock it, ready made and very tasty.

There are different types of meringues but the ‘Italian meringue’ is the best type to make for topping a pie. Secondly, this is the most involved of the meringues because it requires a little bit of sugar cookery, but once you understand some meringue basics and have a good thermometer, it’s easy.

The advantage of making this meringue is that its unwavering stability allows the resulting desserts to be finished under the grill, frozen, or torched for a dramatic effect.

A tip to remember before starting your meringue is that for the best results always use fresh eggs at room temperature!

Also if you are using frozen pastry please ensure it is fully defrosted.

So here goes ...

In a small saucepan, combine 180g of sugar and 60ml of water.

Heat over high heat andcook until sugar syrup registers 126C on an instant read or candy thermometer.

Meanwhile roll out your pastry, cut it, place into holders and bake in the oven until golden brown.

Back to the meringue, whisk 75g egg whites (approx 2 eggs) until stiff.

Slowly pour over the sugar syrup whilst still whisking. Continue this process until cooled and stiff.

Once your pastry has cooled, fill it with your mincemeat.

Pipe the meringue onto the top of the mince

Blowtorch the top to make it golden brown, if you don’t have one of these then you can place under the grill for a few minutes.

We hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

This weekend go to www.halifaxcourier.co.uk and in the Lifestyle section of our website you’ll find a video of Glenn making mince pies.

lNext week Glenn describes how to cook the perfect turkey.