Christmas Mince Pies
I created this recipe as I am usually not a big mince pie fan, feeling that the pastry is too floury and there’s too much of it. The fruit mince is often too intense in flavour. Both the recipes for the dough and the fruit mince have been adjusted to create a much lighter more subtle but still hugely flavoursome combination. It really is a winner.
It is great to make with kids as there is some easy grating and mixing and the fiddly making of the pies is suitable for slightly older kids. The pastry can be pretty tricky to work with but kids certainly can help with cutting out the rounds.
for the dough:
2 ½ cups of flour
2 pinchs of salt
100g ground almonds
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 egg yolk
½ cup castor sugar
Rind of half a lemon
Squeeze of lemon juice
2 – 3 Tbsp ice water
Sift your flour into a mixing bowl. Add the salt, ground almonds, vanilla essence, egg yolks, sugar, lemon rind, squeeze of lemon juice and cold butter cut into cubes. Combine the ingredients by rubbing it between your fingers until well mixed and has formed rough crumbs. Add the iced water to the crumbs to form a dough like mixture. Roll this into two balls and refrigerate for an hour or two until the dough is cold.
For the filling:
½ a jar (200g) of Christmas fruit mince
½ a cup of grated apple
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla essence
½ tsp rum/brandy essence
50g of finely chopped nuts, I usually use pecan nuts but almonds, macadamia, hazel nuts etc will also be good.
Combine all the ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use.
Pre heat your oven to 160°C. Place your rack in the centre of the oven.
Find an appropriate surface for rolling out your dough. Make sure it is clean and dry. Liberally flour the surface, a rolling pin (if you don’t have one a wine bottle works well) and your hands. Using the first dough ball, start flattening it by gently squashing it down with your hand. Where it begins to crap, squeeze these cracks together. Keep flipping the dough and re-flouring it on both sides. Gently flatten the dough with rolling pin. Keep re-flouring so that the dough does not stick to the rolling pin or to the surface. Get the dough to about 2 – 3 mm thick before cutting out rounds. If you have cookie cutters, chose medium sized one. If you don’t, a tea cup or mug with a think edge also work. Use a spatula to loosen and lift your rounds. If you have rounds of varying thickness, use the thinnest ones as bases and the thicker ones as tops. Roll the scrap dough into a ball and put it back into the fridge.
To assemble the pies get a cup or bowl of water ready, place a disc on a baking tray and with your finger tips lightly wet the edges of the disc. Using a teaspoon scoop out a small amount of fruit mince into the centre of the pie. Flatten this with your finger tips, taking care to keep the filling well away from the edges of the dough. Take a second disc of dough and cover the filling gently pressing along the edges to seal the pie. Continue this process until all your discs have been used. Place the baking tray into the oven and bake the pies for 15 – 20 minutes. While the first set is baking repeat the process with the second ball of dough and again until all your dough has been used.
Allow the mince pies to cool and dust with sifted icing sugar.