I made mince pies the other day. Between myself and my husband they have been demolished in all of a few days. So we cheated and bought ourselves a box of these to get us through this week (well, who am I kidding? There are only 6 in the box and two of those have already gone…):

And I even bought those KNOWING I still have half a jar of mincemeat in the fridge to be used up. I know, I’m a bad pig.

But back to my troubles with mince pies (apart from eating too many of them). I already don’t make full ‘lids’ for them as a calorie-cutting measure, swapping them for festive shapes such as stars.

HOWEVER. On eating an M&S mince pie earlier, my husband and I noted (arrogant much?) that we couldn’t really see much difference taste-wise between them and my home-made pies…the only real visual difference, apart from the full lids, is that the pastry on commercial mince pies tends to be much thinner than anything I ever manage to achieve at home. Not having a pasta maker or anything similar to roll out the pastry to epically thin proportions, it always seems to come out far thicker than I would like.

Chilling the pastry for half an hour beforehand does seem to make it easier to roll out, but naturally halfway through the mince-pie-making process the pastry does warm up again. Find me one person on earth who can be bothered with constant stopping and starting just so that the pastry can be cold enough. You’d be taking hours to make one batch if you were constantly stopping to pop the pastry back in the fridge, drink mulled wine for half an hour and then restart.

A quick look around the interwebs suggests I need to a) work faster and/or b) roll out the dough in batches, leaving the rest in the fridge until I actually need it. I’ll have to see if round two goes any better. Until then: lebkuchen!