Got some time on your hands? Make mince pies or seasonal biscuits. Your house will be full of the heavenly scents of cinnamon, orange and mincemeat.
Here is our all-time favourite recipe for mince pies from Mary Berry.
- 175g plain flour
- 75g cold butter, cubed
- 25g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
- 1 large orange, grated zest only
- 1 free-range egg, beaten
- 250g good-quality ready-made mincemeat
- 100g ready-to-eat dried apricots, finely chopped (do this in a food processor if you're short on time)
- 125g uncoloured marzipan, grated
Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan and place a baking sheet inside to heat up.
For the pastry, either pulse the flour and butter in a food processor until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, or rub the flour and butter together in a large bowl using your fingertips.
Stir in the icing sugar and orange zest, then stir in the beaten egg and mix until the ingredients just come together as a dough. Wrap the dough in greaseproof paper and chill in the fridge for 10-15 minutes, or until firm.
When the pastry has rested, unwrap it. Place the greaseproof paper on a work surface and lightly dust with icing sugar. Place the dough on top, dust with icing sugar, then cover with another sheet of greaseproof paper. Roll the pastry between the sheets of greaseproof paper to a thickness of 1-2mm. (If you are confident rolling out pastry you do not need to use the greaseproof paper, but it does help prevent the pastry tearing if the dough is a little sticky).
Stamp 12 rounds from the pastry using a 8cm fluted pastry cutter. (Any leftover pastry can be frozen and used to make jam tarts.) Line each hole of the muffin tin with one of the pastry rounds and prick the base of each with a fork.
For the filling, mix the mincemeat with the chopped apricots until well combined. Divide the mixture equally among the pastry cases. Top each tart with some of the grated marzipan.
Slide the muffin tin onto the hot baking sheet and bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until golden-brown and crisp. Dust with icing sugar and serve warm.
- These tarts can be make up to 3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container. They can also be wrapped in cling film and aluminium foil and frozen for up to 2 months.
Edible Christmas gifts.
Our favourite sustainable Christmas tip? Make biscuits, truffles, jams, preserves, flavoured sugar and festive tipples to give to your loved ones. Mason jars and beautiful glass bottles look stunning filled with festive treats.
For other eco festive ideas, check out our Eco Christmas Guide.