Christmas is as much a time for good food as it is for good cheer. There’s nothing better than gathering family and friends together and enjoying each other’s company over classic Christmas food. And after a Christmas cake, what could be a more classic Christmas bake than mince pies and gingerbread men? And the best thing about it is they can both be baked in the air fryer - perfect if you’re striving for a frugal festive season.
Mince pies are a staple treat found in everyone’s cupboard at Christmas time, but instead of buying them ready-made from the shop, why not make your own? With love as the added ingredient, they’re bound to be a hit! For best results, make the pastry in our Gourmet Professional Stand Mixer.
- 350g plain flour
- 225g unsalted butter - chilled and cut into cubes
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 tbsp caster sugar (plus extra for decorating)
- 2-4 tbsp cold water
- 1 jar mincemeat (it’s a lot easier to use shop-bought mincemeat, but if you fancy having a go at making your own, try this Easy Mincemeat recipe from BBC Food)
- Milk or beaten egg to glaze
To make the pastry, put the flour, butter, sugar and salt into the mixing bowl. Using the flat beater, mix on a low speed until the butter has broken down. Add two tablespoons of the water and mix in, adding more water if required. Keep going until the mixture starts to form clumps. Then tip the pastry onto a lightly floured surface and gently push the pastry into a rough, flat circle about a centimetre high. Wrap in cling film (or an eco-friendly alternative) and put it in the fridge for at least half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry until it’s around 3mm thick. Using a 10cm round cutter, cut enough circles from the pastry to fit in your baking tray compartments (usually 12) and place the pastry circles into lightly oiled mince pie baking tray compartments. Fill each pastry circle with the mincemeat mixture. Then cut out pastry lids using a 7cm round cutter and cover the mince pies with the lids. Press lightly around the edges to seal. With a sharp knife, cut a hole in the top of each pie to let the air out as they cook, then brush with milk (or beaten egg) and sprinkle with caster sugar.
Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until they’re golden brown. Alternatively, if you’re using an air fryer oven, cook for 15 minutes at 180C. Turn out to cool on a wire rack.
What could be more Christmassy than gingerbread? If you’ve got kids, or have kids coming over, gingerbread men are a nice fun treat. You can even keep everyone quiet for a while by giving them blank gingerbread men and tubes of icing and getting them to decorate their own biscuits.
- 350g plain flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 125g butter
- 175g light soft brown sugar
- 1 free-range egg
- 4 tbsp golden syrup
Sift the flour, bicarb, ginger and cinnamon into the mixing bowl of your stand mixer and add the butter. Using the flat beater, mix until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the egg and golden syrup, then add them to the mixture. Then mix until the dough clumps together.
Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly until it’s smooth. Then wrap it in cling film or an eco-friendly alternative, and chill it in the fridge for 15-30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
Place baking paper on a baking tray and lightly oil it. Then, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until it’s about half a centimetre thick. Using cutters (they could be gingerbread man-shaped or any other festive cutter you have), cut out the shapes and place them on the tray, leaving gaps between them. Bake for 12-15 minutes until they’re golden brown.
If you would like to bake your gingerbread men in your air fryer oven, cook at 190C for 5-7 minutes.
Put the biscuits on a wire rack to cool completely. Then it’s time to go to town decorating them. If you’re looking for ideas, a simple image search will come up with literally hundreds of suggestions!