Christmas is simply not complete without crumbly mince pies, and when they are warm out of the oven and oozing with juices, they’re even more delicious! This boozy homemade 6 O’clock Damson mincemeat is so easy to make and is absolutely packed with flavour. The addition of the 6 O’clock Damson Gin brings a beautiful tartness that is perfectly balanced by the sweetness of the fruit and the shortcrust pastry. To make these 6 O’clock Damson Gince Pies with Cranberry and Hazelnuts, you will need:
For the Mincemeat:
- 200ml of 6 O’clock Damson Gin
- 175g of fresh Cranberries
- 175g of Hazelnuts
- 175g of Raisins
- 175g of Currants
- 2 Apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
- 125g of Butter
- 250g of Light Muscovado Sugar
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- 1tbsp of Mixed Spice
- Finely grated rind and juice of 1 Lemon
- Zest of 1 Orange
For the Pastry:
- 400g of Plain Flour
- 260g of Unsalted Butter, cubed and chilled
- 150g of Caster Sugar – plus extra for sprinkling
- 1 Large Egg, plus 1 beaten Egg for glazing
Method: (Makes 12 Mince Pies)
1: To make your mincemeat, roughly chop all the mincemeat ingredients into small chunks and add to a heavy-based saucepan. Add the butter, spices, lemon juice and rind, orange zest and muscovado sugar to the saucepan and set over a medium heat. Stir the mixture until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Leave to gently simmer over a medium/low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the juices have reduced. Remove from the heat and leave to cool before adding the 6 O’clock Damson Gin. This can be made up to 4-6 weeks in advance which allows the flavour to mature or can be used immediately. If you are making in advance, place the mixture in sterilised jars and store in a cool place such as the cupboard.
2: When you are ready to construct your mince pies, start by making the shortcrust pastry. Add the flour and butter to a bowl and using your fingers, combine until you have what resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and egg and combine using a wooden spoon. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and fold until you have a firm dough ball. Wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
3: Once the dough has chilled, preheat your oven to 180C. Lightly dust a surface with flour and roll out your dough to a 3mm thickness. Using a 10cm cutter, cut 12 circular discs from the dough and place them in the muffin tray. Fill with 1 ½ tbsps. of the mincemeat mix, ensuring you add plenty of the Damson Gin juice that will have collected – this is where all the flavour is! Brush the edge of each pie with a little beaten egg.
4: Re-roll out the pastry and cut the lids using a 7cm cutter and press them on top to seal. If you want to be more creative with your lids, you can cut out stars or other festive-themed shapes. Brush the lids with beaten egg and sprinkle with caster sugar. Place in the centre of the oven for between 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top. Once cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool in the muffin tin before turning out.
5: Serve with a generous dollop of clotted cream and if you are feeling extra indulgent, add a dash of 6 O’clock Damson Gin to the clotted cream and whisk until well combined. Now don’t be afraid to overfill your mince pies – the extra juice will boil over when baking but this results in the flavours seeping deep down into the shortcrust pastry.