Alternative Mince Pies

When I asked Twitter for alternatives to traditional mince pies for the holidays, Kali Stacey forwarded me this recipe (interesting history here on this Scottish treat).

Because I had plums & raisins hanging about, I used them – but you could use currants/dried mixed fruit as you prefer. You need to start the night before serving.

Makes: 24 (+ extra – see Footnote)

Ingredients
For the filling and garnish:

  • 4 plums: stoned, chopped finely, and drained in a sieve (approx. 350g)
  • 1 unwaxed lemon, all of finely grated zest and 1/2 of juice/pulp
  • 1 orange, half of juice/pulp only (save the zest for the pastry)
  • 300g currants, raisins, or mixed dried fruit
  • 35g walnuts, chopped finely
  • 150g soft light brown sugar (golden caster will substitute)
  • 1 medium egg, beaten (52-58g when weighed in the shell)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom (about 7-8 green pods, seeds removed and heartily crushed)
  • 1 small egg, beaten, for pastry binding
  • White caster sugar, for dusting

For the pastry:

  • 1 orange, finely grated zest only (see Filling Ingredients)
  • 375g plain flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 250g cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 125g sugar (soft light brown, golden caster, or light muscavado will all work)
  • 1 medium egg, beaten (52-58g when weighed in the shell)
  • Cold water, as needed

Kit

  • Two 12-hole non-stick mini Yorkshire pudding tins (or other shallow muffin/bun tins)
  • 2 large mixing bowls + small bowl for beaten eggs
  • Clingfilm
  • A rolling pin
  • A fine grater
  • 2 round pastry cutters to fit your tin’s holes
  • Mortar & pestle (if crushing cardamom seeds)
  • A pastry brush
  • Cooling rack

Steps
Making the Filling

  1. Put all filling ingredients (except small egg and white caster sugar) into a large mixing bowl and stir well until fully combined. Chill, covered, overnight in the fridge.

Making the Pastry

  1. Rub the orange zest, flour, butter, sugar, and egg together in a large bowl until you have a soft dough. Add a drop or two of cold water as necessary to bring it together. Don’t over-work the dough, though – just get it into a ball. Flatten the ball into a thick disk, wrap in clingfilm, and put into the fridge overnight.
  2. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to 3mm (1/8″) thickness, and cut 48 discs. 24 should be large enough to fill your tin holes as the base, and the other 24 slightly smaller, large enough to make the lids. Cut a hole (or star or other shape as you prefer) in each of the lid discs and place these back onto the cling film.
  3. Put the base discs into the tins, ensuring the pastry goes all the way up the sides of each hole. Put the tins and the pastry lids back into the fridge for 30 minutes or so.

Assembling

  1. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 200 C (180 C fan-assisted).
  2. Spoon the filling into the chilled pastry bases to about 3/4 full. Brush the rims with the beaten egg, and place the lid discs over each. Pinch with your fingers all around the edges to seal.
  3. Sprinkle white caster sugar over each lid and bake for around 20 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool until the pies can be handled safely, then remove each to a cooling rack.

Extra Pastry and Filling
The amounts provided here make enough ingredients for up to 6 more pies of this size with lids, or 1 full-size pie with lid in addition to the 24 small pies.

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