Fruit Mince Pies

 

Fruit Mince Pies

 

Christmas isn't complete until you've had a couple of fruit mince pies – not ghastly store-bought one – proper home-made rustic Fruit Mince Pies.  This recipe can be made without stress and is great if you have little helpers to assist with making the pie-tops.  Rather than ordinary pie lids, make festive shapes – stars, hearts, gingerbread-men, maybe even bugs....whatever cookie cutter you have that you have been desperate to use all year, now is their time to shine.

Traditionally, back to the Medieval Fruit Mince Pie, there would have been actual meat in these little treats... not so now!

 

For the Pastry:
2 ½ cups plain flour (00 bakers flour will give a finer dough)

½ cup caster sugar (vanilla sugar is even better)

180 grams butter, chilled

2 egg yolks

2 tablespoons chilled water

For the filling:

100 grams raisins

200 grams sultanas

100 grams red glacé

100 grams currants

100 grams dried mixed peel

1 cup brown sugar

Zest and juice of a lemon, a lime and a orange

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½  teaspoon allspice

½ teaspoon nutmeg

1 whole star anise – only for soaking fruit

Pinch of ground ginger

Pinch of salt

½ cup Brandy

¼ cup Cointreau

¼ cup milk

 

Pre-heat oven to 185°C

 

Before you start cooking...  pop all the fruit and spices into a small saucepan over a very low heat, add the star anise, cover with the juice, Brandy and Cointreau, allow to simmer for 10 minutes.   Turn off the heat, decant to a bowl and leave to cool and steep in the fridge while you have a cuppa and make the pastry.... 

 

Rub the butter into the flour and sugar until it resembles breadcrumbs, then add the yolks one at a time.  Add a little water and bring together into a stiff dough.    As soon as the dough forms, wrap in plastic and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

 

Once cooled, roll out the pastry and cut into circles to fill a well greased muffin or little cake tray.  Press the pastry down into the tray and place the tray in the fridge for 10 minutes. 

 

With the remaining pastry, cut tops for your pies – be as creative as you like.  Plain discs are of course acceptable also.  Dust each lid with a little vanilla caster sugar by pressing it onto a saucer filled with sugar.  If you want to excite the children colour the sugar with a little red food colouring – all of a sudden they love Fruit Mince Pies!

Remove the chilled pastry and pie filling from the fridge.  Remove the star anise, spoon a little of the pie filling into the base of each pie and press on a lid and glaze with a little milk.

 

Bake in a moderately hot oven for 15-20 minutes, or until just starting to become golden.

These last very well and can be frozen for Christmas emergencies – they also make lovely gifts all packaged up with a pretty bow!