These classic festive favourites are a staple at this time of year, and I am really pleased with this mincemeat mixture which uses lovely apples, dried apricots and dates. I hope you love it too – it’s not too sweet and has a lovely tang to it.
My mince pies are super easy to make, and you can cook the mincemeat ahead of time and store in the fridge if you want to get ahead. If you want a gluten-free version, I’ve also included an alternative almond pastry to try. It’s delicious too! Both versions can easily be frozen, so you always have some at the ready.
To make this recipe dairy-free, swap the butter for odourless coconut oil like Biona Cuisine. To make it vegan, swap the honey for rice syrup or agave syrup.
Place all the mincemeat ingredients into a pan and simmer for half an hour. Taste the mincemeat at this stage as you can add more spices or citrus depending on your tastes.
If not using straight away, spoon and press into sterilised jars to remove the air. Will keep in the fridge for up to 6 months if you can resist it.
To make the spelt pastry:
Preheat oven to 180C.
Rub the flour and butter together until it resembles breadcrumbs. Then add the honey, orange zest and xanthan gum. Slowly add a little of the ice cold water and mix with a knife until it comes together.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and bring together until a smooth dough is formed. Try not to overwork the dough, it won’t matter if there are spots of the butter.
Wrap the dough in clingfilm and leave to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Once chilled, roll out and use a cutter to create the bases and fill your cupcake baking tray. Pop into the oven for 10 minutes to blind bake.
Meanwhile cut out your pastry toppers using star or heart cutters or whichever shapes you have.
Remove the bases from the oven and fill each a teaspoon of mincemeat then add a small pastry topper.
Pop them back in the oven until the pastry is evenly browned which will be around 20 minutes.
To make the gluten-free almond pastry:
Put all of the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix together, using a little of the cold water if needed. It will come together well as the almonds provide moisture.
Place a little flour on the work surface as it can be quite sticky, then cut out your bases. Using slightly damp hands fill your cupcake tin holes and place into the fridge for half an hour. Meanwhile, cut out your topping shapes.
Once chilled, take out of the fridge and fill with a teaspoon of mincemeat. Place star or heart on the top and then bake for at least 20 minutes until evenly browned.
Use whichever sized cupcake tray you would like, large or small there is very little difference except in cooking times. If you make mini mince pies, I would check after 15 minutes.
Grating your butter for the pastry is a traditional method but is great as it reduces the amount you need to rub the fat and flour together, reducing the risk of over working and therefore a tough pastry. Make sure your butter is really cold!