With Christmas now only a week away, the festive baking is well and truly under way in my kitchen. Fruit mince pies are a must each and every year, mainly because Aaron is obsessed with anything with dried fruit – mince pies, fruit cake, plum pudding, etc, and I do like a good mince pie myself.
I believe that the key to a delicious, rich mince pie is to prepare the fruit at least 1 month out and let it marinate and the flavours develop. However, most recipes, will prepare the fruit that day or 24 hours in advance. At this time of year, if you want some of these beauties for Christmas, I suggest preparing the fruit a day or two before and they will be great.
For the pastry, I use Stephanie Alexanders sweet shortcrust pastry recipe, however, you can always buy shortcrust pastry to make things easier.
These pies can be served as they are, straight out of the container, but my preferred way is warmed up with a dollop of cream, and if the Pura Brandy Cheer is available, that is my pick. They will last in an airtight container for quite sometime, but the chances are they will be eaten before they go off.
Once Christmas has passed the remains are perfect with a cuppa or for a sweet treat after dinner.
Makes ~24 pies
- 150g currants
- 150g raisins, chopped
- 20g mixed peel, chopped
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon, finely grated
- Zest and juice of 1 orange, finely grated
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 3/4 tsp ground allspice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 100g dried figs, chopped
- 150g sultanas
- 75ml brandy
- 50g glace ginger, chopped
- 1/2 green apple, grated
- 150g brown sugar
- 125g cold butter
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry:
- 200g plain flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbs sugar
- 100g unsalted butter, diced
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp water
- To prepare the fruit mince, place dried fruit, zest and spices in a bowl and mix to combine.
- Add sugar, juices, brandy and apple and mix well. Grate the butter into the fruit mixture and stir well to evenly distribute the butter.
- Place fruit mix into a glass or ceramic airtight jar or container and leave to marinate ideally for at least 4 weeks, stirring weekly.
- To make the pastry, place flour, salt, sugar and butter into a food processor and blend until it resembles breadcrumbs.
- Lightly beat the egg and water together and with the motor of the food processor running, pour in the egg/water mix until the mixture comes together. Once a ball has formed, remove from the food processor and flatten to a disc shape. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and prepare mini pie tins. I used ~5cm diameter mini muffin tins.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry and using a cutter slightly bigger than the tins (1 used a 7cm cutter), cut out 24 circles. Press into the tins. Place enough fruit mince into pastry cases until it is almost at the top. Do not overfill or it will bubble over when cooking.
- Using a festive cookie cutter (I like the stars), cut a suitably sized piece of pastry to top the pie – this should be large enough to slightly overhang the bottom pastry case as it does shrink during the cooking process. Press top pastry and bottom pastry together where they touch (ie. points of the stars). Repeat for all pies.
- Return to fridge for about 15 minutes, then bake for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry starts to turn golden brown.
- Allow to cool slightly in the tin, then remove from tin and dust with icing sugar.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature, or in the fridge for at least 2 weeks.