Jane’s Sweet Orange Pastry….

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This is a really easy recipe and works well every time, so if you’re looking for a pastry to use for your mince pies this is the one! Once again, the origins of the recipe are lost in the mists of time, but it always gives a good result and may be used whenever a recipe calls for sweet pastry.

The quantities I’ve given here make just over 1kg of pastry and would be sufficient for at least 40 shallow mince pies or 20 deep ones. Just halve the quantities of course if you wish to make fewer!

If you have a food processor the pastry may be made in a jiffy, but even if making it by hand it’s very straightforward. This is what you will need:

500g plain flour

375g cold butter, cut into pieces

175g icing sugar

the zest and juice of an orange

To make in a food processor:

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  • place the flour, icing sugar, butter and orange zest into the bowl of the processor and blitz for a minute until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs
  • pour in the orange juice and pulse the mixture until it starts to bind together and form a ball
  • tip the pastry out onto a lightly floured surface, knead it lightly and bring it into a ball shape (if the pastry seems very soft don’t worry as it will firm up when it is chilled)
  • put the pastry into a plastic bag and refrigerate it until needed

To make the pastry by hand:

N.B. If making the pastry by hand it would be easier to make it with half the quantity of ingredients I have given above

  • place the flour and diced butter into a mixing bowl and rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs
  • stir the icing sugar and orange zest into the flour/butter mixture
  • pour the orange juice into the mixture. Using a fork, stir everything around until the orange juice starts to be absorbed, then use your hands to bring the pastry together
  • tip the pastry onto a lightly floured surface and then knead it lightly for a few moments until it is smooth and may be shaped into a ball
  • put the pastry into a plastic bag and refrigerate it until needed

The pastry will keep well in the fridge for 3-4 days if necessary, but it also freezes well so may be made in advance. This is a useful pastry for any recipe requiring sweet pastry, but works especially well for mince pies. Remove it from the fridge about half an hour before you use it otherwise it may be too firm to roll out.

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I usually make my mince pies in advance of needing them as they freeze really well when made using this pastry. However, I usually keep one or two back to sample!

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