Fruit Mince Pies

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I shared these fruit mince tarts with an English friend and I could see in their expression, as they bit into the crumbly pie casing, that they were tasting nostalgia as much as spiced fruit mince. These merry morsels are historically British you see, heralding from the Crusade era when the English brought back Middle Eastern recipes mixing meats with fruit and sweeter flavours as well as exotic spices.

Mince Pies have always been associated with Christmas, though as time has gone by the recipe has evolved to leave out the meats but amp up the sweets! For this recipe I left my fruit mince to soak in brandy for 24 hours, but some people have told me tales of their grandmothers soaking it for months!

Fruit mince pie

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Ingredients:

  •  250g dried figs
  • 300g raisins
  • 150g Slivered almonds
  • 250g dried apricots
  • 300g currants
  • 300g sultanas
  • 3 granny smith apples
  • 200g mixed peels
  • 110g macadamia
  • 150g hazelnuts
  • 200g brown sugar
  • 150mL brandy
  • 1/3 cup Verjuice
  • 4 Tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 175g unsalted butter

Method:

  1. Peel and coarsely grate the apples, then cover with verjuice to prevent discoloration.
  2. Chop the apricots, raisin, figs, macadamia and hazelnuts.
  3. Combine them in a large mixing bowl with rest of the ingredients except the butter and mix thoroughly.
  4. Cover with cling film and leave at room temperature for 24 hours, stirring from time to time.

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Ingredients for the pastry:

  • 175g unsalted chilled butter
  • 225g plain flour
  • 75g self raising flour
  • 55g icing sugar
  • 1 free range egg
  • 2 Tbspn iced water

Method:

  1. Dice the chilled butter
  2. Blend the flours, icing sugar and butter in a food processor until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. If you do not have a food processor use the tip of your fingers to mix the butter and flours together.
  3. Add the egg yolk and iced water and mix until the dough comes together. Form a ball and flatten it a little bit, it will make your life easier when you start rolling, wrap it in cling film and put in the fridge for an hour to rest.
  4. Preheat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius (392F).
  5. Take the pastry out of the fridge 15 minutes prior to rolling it.
  6. Roll the pastry on a lightly floured clean surface to the desired thickness (about 2mm).
  7. Stir the fruit mince one last time before filling the pastry.
  8. Line the moulds with pastry (a cupcake tin works perfectly for this) and fill them up with the mince to about 3/4. Press the mince down gently in the pie. Using a star shape pastry cutter, cut a star for each of the pie and place them on top. Press down a little bit and brush them with egg wash.
  9. Bake for 18 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown on top (some oven might cook a bit faster or slower).
  10. Allow to cool on a cooling rack before serving with.
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