Warm up for Christmas by trying some of these mince pie recipes from Ballymaloe. We have so much fun with mince pies and do lots of variations. Sometimes we press out a star shape from the top so the mincemeat is visible, then we use that star to cover the next one. A tiny heart can be put on top of another. All mince pies with a pastry top need to be brushed with egg wash before going into the oven.

Makes 20–24 mince pies

Ingredients:

225g (8oz) plain flour 175g (6oz) butter, chilled and cut into 1cm (1/2in) approx. cubes

1 dessert spoon icing sugar, sieved a pinch of salt a little beaten egg or egg yolk and water to bind

450g (1lb) Ballymaloe mincemeat

Egg wash

Irish whiskey cream (instructions below)

Instructions:

Sieve the flour into a bowl. Toss the butter into the flour and rub it in with your fingertips. Add the icing sugar and a pinch of salt. Mix with a fork as you gradually add in the beaten egg (do this bit by bit because you may not need all the egg), then use your hand to bring the pastry together into a ball: it should not be wet or sticky. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

Roll out the pastry until it’s quite thin – about 3mm (1/8in). Stamp out into rounds 7.5cm (3in) in diameter and line shallow bun tins with the discs. Put a good teaspoonful of mincemeat into each tin, dampen the edges with water and put another round on top. Brush with egg wash and decorate with pastry leaves in the shape of holly berries, etc.

Bake the mince pies in the preheated oven for 20 minutes approx. Allow them to cool slightly, then dredge with icing or caster sugar. Serve with a dollop of Irish whiskey cream. 

Variations:

Mince Pies with Meringue

Ingredients:

2 egg whites, preferably free-range

and organic

110g (4oz) caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

Instructions:

Line the tins and fill as in the recipe above, but do not put another pastry round on top of the pies.

To make the meringue, check that your mixing bowl is spotlessly clean and free from grease. Put the egg whites and caster sugar into the bowl and whisk until the mixture forms stiff dry peaks. Pipe a blob of meringue on top of each pie with a large star nozzle. Bake in the preheated oven for 15–20 minutes. Turn off the oven and allow the meringue to cool in the oven.

Mince Pies with Almond Crumble

Ingredients:

110g (4oz) self-raising flour

75g (3oz) caster sugar

75g (3oz) chilled butter

25g (1oz) flaked almonds

Instructions:

Line the tins and fill as in the master recipe above, but do not put another pastry round on top of the pies.

Mix together the flour and sugar and then rub in the butter with your fingertips to make a coarse crumble. Add the flaked almonds. Sprinkle a generous teaspoon of crumble on top of each mince pie. Bake for 15–20 minutes.

Irish Whiskey Cream

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon Irish whiskey

1 teaspoon icing sugar, sieved

225ml (8fl oz) softly whipped cream

Instructions:

Fold the whiskey and sugar into the whipped cream.

These recipes come from Darina Allen's recently reissued Christmas cookbook 'A Simply Delicious Christmas'.

* Originally published in 2014.