flour, for dusting
300 g shortcrust pastry
300 g mincemeat
2 free-range egg whites
100 g caster sugar
1 small tub good-quality vanilla ice cream
These are fantastic: a real improvement on basic mince pies and the ice cream works well with hot mulled wine! It's best to make the meringue and to brown it as close to the time when you want to serve the pies as possible.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Dust a clean work surface and rolling pin with flour, and roll out the pastry until it is a little thicker than a £1 coin – about 4mm thick. Carefully cut out 10 circles of pastry large enough to line 7–8cm individual fluted tart tins. (Alternatively, cut out smaller circles and line a 12-hole bun tray.)
Spoon the mincemeat into the pastries and bake for 20 minutes, until cooked through and golden, and the mincemeat is bubbling hot. Set aside on a wire rack to cool completely.
In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites with 1 tablespoon of caster sugar until it thickens and you have stiff peaks. Gradually whisk in the rest of the sugar and keep whisking for a few more minutes until the meringue turns thick and glossy.
Cover each mince pie with a shallow scoop of ice cream and then top with a dollop of meringue. Fork the meringue up a bit so it gets little peaks all over it, then brown briefly under a hot grill before serving.
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BUYING SUSTAINABLY SOURCED FISH
Buying sustainably sourced fish means buying fish that has been caught without endangering the levels of fish stocks and with the protection of the environment in mind. Wild fish caught in areas where stocks are plentiful are sustainably sourced, as are farmed fish that are reared on farms proven to cause no harm to surrounding seas and shores.
When buying either wild or farmed fish, ask whether it is sustainably sourced. If you're unable to obtain this information, don't be afraid to shop elsewhere – only by shopping sustainably can we be sure that the fantastic selection of fish we enjoy today will be around for future generations.
For further information about sustainably sourced fish, please refer to the useful links below:
Marine Stewardship Council