Mince Twirls

The Teen Chef

James Underdown – flavour’s 14-year-old budding chef – has been back in the kitchen this month to serve up another one of his mouth-watering treats.

Well, this month my GCSE catering course is in full swing. Over the past month I’ve made all sorts of delicacies, from chow mein to sausage rolls and sweet and sour pork to Viennese biscuits. I’ve got my first piece of coursework looming in the near future in which I have to bake and present (using quality control, which is making the two portions the same size) four dishes in only two hours.

This month’s recipe is all ‘Christmassy’ and uses the mincemeat I made in school along with puff pastry. I like to call them mince twirls. I much prefer these to normal mince pies as I find too much mincemeat quite sickly. I’ve just been informed that one Heston Blumenthal is advertising a similar sort of Christmas treat, with essence of Christmas infused icing sugar or something like that. But I always think it better to make it yourself in your own laboratory.

Mince Twirls

Ingredients for the pastry

  • 250g of plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 125g of lard and butter (at room temp)
  • 150g of cold water
  • Teaspoon of lemon juice

For the mincemeat

  • 125g grated cooking apple
  • 125g raisins, sultanas and currants
  • 125g soft brown sugar
  • 125g shredded suet
  • 25g mixed peel
  • 2 teaspoons of mixed spice
  • 50ml brandy


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180oc and grease two baking trays. Sift the flour and salt in to a bowl. Break the butter and lard into clumps and rub them in to the flour. You should still be able to see chunks in the bowl.
  2. Make a well and pour two thirds of the water and lemon juice in and mix until a firm dough forms. Add extra water if needed. Cover with cling film, then leave to rest for 20 minutes in the fridge. Put all the ingredients for the mincemeat in a large bowl and thoroughly mix together.
  3. Take the pastry out and place it on a floured surface. Roll out into a rectangle. Now here comes the boring part, fold a third over and do the same the other side. So you have three layers of pastry. Then roll out again. Repeat this as many times as you want, the more you do it the puffier your pastry will be. Cover and leave again for 20 minutes.
  4. Place on a floured surface again and roll out rectangles or pastry 15x20cm. Spread the mincemeat on, making sure it doesn’t go right to the edges and roll. Now cut in to three, 5cm across. Do this for however many twirls you want. Egg-glaze them and bake until golden brown. Lovely.

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