Don’t buy your mince pies this year, when it’s actually so easy to make them yourself at home.
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a good ol’ mince pie now would it? My favourite at the Mr. Kipling’s ones with a layer of royal icing on the top instead of a traditional pastry top.
This year I decided, was going to be the year however that I made my own mince pies, mainly because you can’t get Mr. Kiplings in Italian supermarkets, but also because I realised I had never tried it. I had, back in my Home Economics days, learned how to make the mincemeat feelings, but unfortunately didn’t seal the jar properly so the mincemeat mix went bad before December.
The mincemeat aspect of mince pies is why I think so many people prefer to shop buy their pies rather than bake them at home; I mean some jars of mincemeat cost way more that a box of pies so it makes sense. If you want to make the mincemeat the traditional way yourself, you have to do so month in advance to allow the flavours to develop.
So, I decided to make a no-mincemeat, mince pie recipe; instead it uses a stewed fruit mixture that mimics the taste of traditional mincemeat filling, but that can be made and baked in the same day making the turn around time on these pies pretty quick.
- 187g plain flour
- 130g butter
- 62g caster sugar
- 1 large egg
- 187g plain flour
- 130g vegan butter
- 62g coconut sugar
- ⅓ cup soya milk
- 250g sultanas (or 125g sultanas 125g raisins)
- ½ apple peeled and diced
- zest and juice of one orange
- 1 tsp fresh ginger finely chopped
- 1 cup agave nectar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- Start by pre-soaking the sultanas; pour them into a bowl and cover with boiling water, allowing them to sit for about 30-40 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the pastry. Sieve the flour into a large mixing bowl. Cube the butter and add to the flour; use your finger tips to rub the butter into the flour, repeating until a bread crumb consistency forms.
- Add in the sugar and most of the egg (or soya milk), setting aside about a tablespoon for glazing at the end. Use a wooden spoon to bring the mixture together.
- Turn out onto a flour surface, and gently knead. Wrap in clingfilm and put in the fridge to chill for 15-20 minutes.
- Drain the water from the fruit and add them to a small to medium pan. Add in the apple, ginger, orange zest and juice, agave nectar and spices. Top up with 1- 1½ cups water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and leave to simmer for about 10-15 minutes until the mixture has reduced to a syrup consistency.
- Remove the pastry from the fridge; cut off about ⅓ and return the remaining amount to the fridge. Roll out to about 1½ cm thickness and use a large round cutter to cut six pies bases. Collect the leftover pastry and put to one side, this will be used for the tops.
- Lightly dust a muffin tin with flour. Gently press the pie bases into the muffin tin, being careful to not stretch the pastry. Spoon about a tablespoon of the fruit mix into each pie.
- Roll out the leftover pastry from the cuttings to about 1cm in thickness. Use a star cutter to cut six star shaped tops. Place these over the top of each pie, gently pressing the pastry together where the top meets to sides of the base.
- Glase the pastry with egg (or soya milk), and place the pies to bake in a preheated oven at 200°C for 10 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and the fruit mix is bubbling. Allow the pies to completely cool before removing them from the tin.
- You can repeat with the remaining ⅔ of pastry and fruits mix to make more pies, or alternatively you can freeze both and defrost when you are ready to make more.