Hi Nigella team, I am about to make Nigella's Star Mince Pies with the Rhubarb Vanilla Mincemeat from her book Feast! I am planning to use puff pastry and to freeze them in readiness for Christmas. My query is, do I cook them first then freeze or do I freeze them once prepared ready to cook when I need them. I also intend to make the short crust pastry in Nigella's recipe but wanted to hear your culninary thoughts on my idea? Margaret
Nigella's mince pies in Feast are made with home-made shortcrust pastry and you can freeze the baked mince pies for up to 3 months. Stack the pies in resealeble containers with sheets of baking parchment (parchment paper) or greaseproof paper in between the layers. To thaw the pies remove them from the boxes and put them on a wire rack at room temperature for about 1 hour. The pies can be reheated in a low oven (120c/250F) for 3-4 minutes. You probably can make the pies with puff pastry but you will need to roll the pastry very thinly.
As the mince pies are small it is possible to bake then from frozen, though you will need to freeze them in the pans, tightly wrapped in a double layer of clingfilm (plastic wrap) and a layer of foil. We would suggest baking the pies (unwrapped) for 3 to 4 minutes longer than for unfrozen ones. Alternatively you can thaw the pies overnight in the fridge before baking.
You may also like to try making Nigella's Cranberry-Studded Mincemeat if you can buy fresh or frozen cranberries. The recipe is in Nigella's book Christmas and also on her website as part of the Star Topped Mince Pies recipe.