Mincemeat Pies

Sweet individual mini pies. So festive and the perfect size for parties

Makes 36 4½cm/ 2″ mini tarts

1 recipe sugar dough, or another pie dough
600g / 2½ cups mincemeat
butter, for greasing
powdered sugar for dusting, optional

Preheat the oven to 220C/ 425F.

Butter 2″ pie tins.

Roll out the dough quite thin. Cut out 36 5½cm / 2¼” circles for the bottoms and 4cm / 1¾” stars for the tops. Press bottoms gently into tins. Add a teaspoon of mincemeat. Top with stars.

Bake until golden brown, about 10–15 minutes. Watch to make sure the tips of the stars do not burn.

Immediately after baking remove from tins. If working in batches, make sure to allow tins to completely cool before refilling.

Once completely cool, using a strainer, dust with powdered sugar (optional).

Venison Pies Topped with Port Glazed Cranberries

With red cranberries and port these gorgeous pies make a great holiday party treat. The following recipe is for bite sized versions for holding with one hand at parties while you have something to drink with the other. I’ve also made meal sized pies which I’ve never had a problem with people finishing either.

1 lb puff pastry
butter for greasing
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
12 oz minced venison
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1 teaspoon cornstarch
200 ml/ 6 oz oyster sauce
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
½ teaspoon five spice powder
salt and pepper
200 g cranberries
200g port
100g granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 190C/ 375F.

Grease a 12 cup muffin tin.

Working quickly so it stays cool, roll out pastry 3mm/ ⅛” thick. Cut out circles large enough to cover base and sides of muffin cups. Carefully line the muffin cups with the pastry circles. Press the pastry so it covers the bottoms and the sides. Put in fridge to chill while you make the filling.

To make the filling, heat the vegetable oil in a skillet. Saute onions for a couple of minutes, then add the carrot. Once the carrot is tender, add the venison, breaking up any lumps. Once the version is browned, stir in cornstarch, oyster sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and five spice powder. Salt and pepper to taste. Allow to cool completely.

Add filling to muffin tins.

Bake until pastry is golden brown, approximately 30 minutes, on lowest oven rack. Check halfway. If mixture seems like it is getting dry, cover with foil.

Once baked cool on wire rack 20 minutes before removing from tin.

In the meantime, dissolve the sugar with the port over a low heat. Once dissolved, bring to the boil and add the cranberries. Cook for 1-2 mins, but remove from the heat before the cranberries burst. Leave to cool. Top the pies with the cranberries. Refrigerate 1 hr to set the topping.

Cajun Pies

These little spicy fried pies are addictive.
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 medium jalapeño, finely chopped
4 plum tomatoes, finely chopped

2 tablespoons canola oil, plus more for frying
1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
4 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon worcestershire
2 tablespoons flour
1 bunch scallions, finely sliced
5 dashes Krystal or other hot sauce
2 pounds puff pastry
eggwash (1 egg plus 1 tablespoon water)

Add 2 tablespoons oil to the pan. Brown meat. Drain grease. Add meat back to pan.

Add seasonings: salt, cayenne, paprika, chili powder, white pepper, cumin, and black pepper. Stir thoroughly. Add onions, bell peppers, jalapeños, tomatoes, thyme, bay leaves, and worcestershire sauce. Cook until juices have released and reduced, about 10 minutes.
Add flour. Stir out any lumps. Cook until thick.
Turn off heat. Add scallions and hot sauce.
Allow to chill thoroughly.

Working in batches so it stays cool, roll out puff pastry until thin. Cut out 2 inch circles using cookie cutter. Brush edges with eggwash. Place 1 tablespoon filling in the center. Fold circle over filling in half. Where edges meet crimp with fork tines. Transfer pies in a single layer on dusted surface to the refrigerator to keep cool as you work. Chill pies at least 30 minutes before frying. Any pies you don’t plan on using can be frozen for later.
Fill deep dutch oven or cast iron skillet with 3 inches of oil. Fry pies in small batches until golden brown, approximately 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to drain.

For more Cajun food, try this recipe for Maw-Maw’s Dirty Rice.



Zucchini and Rice Filo Pie

Zucchini, rice, and a mixture of herbs encased in filo pastry makes a light summer pie. This recipe is inspired by Nigel Slater’s River Cottage Veg. It is a great book of vegetable dishes that you really should have. Add a salad for a great summer meal.

1 lb/ 500 g zucchini, grated
⅓ cup/ 75 g long grain rice
½ red onion, chopped
2 ½ oz/ 75 g hard cheese
2 large eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp olive oil
6 Tbsp finely chopped mixed herbs (thyme, parsley, dill, basil)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
8 oz/ 250 g filo pastry
6 Tbsp/ 100 g butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375F/ 190C.
Continue reading “Zucchini and Rice Filo Pie”

Chicken Rissoles

Like many savory pies of the world, rissoles have made their way all over the map, from Ireland to Indonesia. Rissoles can be sweet or savory and have many different names. In Portugal they are called rissóis and are often filled with shrimp or fish and bechamel sauce. The version below is encased in pastry and rolled in bread crumbs. They can be baked at 350F, but I like them fried.

These are definitely a weekend project. The pastry is easy, but puff pastry can be substituted if you would like to skip a step. While delicious fried, the puff pastry will be more delicate and you must keep it cool while working it. Also you could make the filling the day before.

They make great bar snacks and taste even better cold.

Makes 30

1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
6 cups salty chicken stock
1 bay leaf
Continue reading “Chicken Rissoles”