Fruit Mince Pies

December 11, 2010

Fruit Mince Pies

If eating a fruit mince pie on each of the 12 days of Christmas brings wealth and prosperity, according to folklore, then i’m well on track to be a multi-millionaire in 2011. I’ve become hooked on my first ever Mince Pies, so it’s fortunate that the Margaret Fulton recipe I used made in excess of 60 of them. Gosh, eating my way through them will be a chore but I consider it a worthy financial investment of sorts, yes?

So how have I gone so long without the Fruit Mince Pie in my life? Well, they didn’t figure much into our Christmas family tradition. Lunch at Nanna’s house usually involves enough ravioli to feed an army, pasta fagioli, a giant hunk of ham, meat and cheese platters and loads of crusty bread. Why yes, we are Italian, how did you know?

With a steady diet of Panettone, Panforte and Tiramisu around Christmas, I didn’t care much for the Fruit Mince Pie. And neither did some folk in the 18th Century, where these delicious innocent treats were deemed an “Invention of the Scarlet Whore of Babylon, an Hodge-Podge of Superstition, Popery, the Devil and all his Works” and were once banned. I know there’s a few calories in them, but sheesh, that’s a little extreme guys.

Now I’m chuffed to have made my own Mince Pies for the first time. These have a crumbly crust with a boozy spiced fruit filling. Leaving the raisins, currants and sultanas to soak for at least two days in a broth of brandy, orange juice and zest, cinnamon, nutmeg and butter gives the insides a lovely festive flavour.

The pies can be cooked in advance, frozen, then left to defrost, which makes them perfect for making in large batches for all those parties and lunches you have to attend. Bonus: it also means you can have a little Christmas all year round if you’re good at self control.

They can make sweet little gifts too, depending on how crafty you want to get. I just individually wrapped the Fruit Mince Pies in clear confectionary bags and tied them with a little curling ribbon to give them away. (I’m no Martha Stewart, clearly).

So guys, what’s making an appearance on your Christmas tables this year?

 

FRUIT MINCE PIE RECIPE

Recipe adapted from Margaret Fulton

You’ll need to start by making the fruit mince at least 2 days in advance. The fruit mince recipe makes enough for 60+ pies. Can store in the fridge and make each batch fresh as you need them.

Fruit Mince

375g box of Raisins
350g box of Currants
500g box of Sultanas
110g packet of Blanched Almonds, finely chopped
2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and grated
1 1/2 cups Brown Sugar
150g Unsalted Butter, melted
3/4 cup Brandy or rum
1/2 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground Cloves or Allspice
1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
Finely grated zest of 2 oranges, and their juice (approx 300ml)

Pastry: makes approximately 24 cases

2 cups Plain Flour
1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
185g Unsalted butter, grated
1/4 cup Caster Sugar
2 Egg Yolks
1-2 tablespoons Lemon Juice or cold water
1 cup of Fruit Mince (see below for recipe)
1 Egg White, lightly beaten
Icing sugar, to dust

Special Equipment

Round cookie cutter or drinking glass, around 65-68mm diameter
12 hole muffin tin
Small star-shaped cookie cutter (optional)
Food processor – will help chop all the fruit faster (optional)
Small offset spatula or blunt butter knife (will help lift the dough from the paper)
Rolling pin

DIRECTIONS:

Start making the fruit mince filling at least two days early. Coarsely chop the sultanas, currant and raisins. If you have a food processor, pulse the fruit in small batches, otherwise you need to go to town with a chopping board and knife. Add the fruit into a large container along with the grated apple, chopped almonds, melted butter, brandy, orange juice, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and orange zest. Stir well until all combined, pop on the lid and allow to marinate in the fridge for at least two days (the longer the better). Just stir the fruit mince every couple of days until needed.

To make the pastry shells, add the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Grate the butter over the top and rub it in using your fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. (I found that I needed a little more flour than the 2 cups recommended in the recipe). Stir in the sugar and egg yolks. If the mixture is still crumbly, add enough lemon juice or water to form a dough. Knead the dough together until smooth, split into two discs and cover them in plastic wrap. Let them chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before use.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. Grease the muffin tin with non-stick spray. Cut 12 strips of baking paper and line each hole with one so that you have two little paper wings sticking up like below. This will save your poor little mince pies from getting stuck when you try to remove them.

Re-knead the dough, then roll it out between two sheets of baking paper until 35mm thick. Try to get the dough nice and thin. Cut rounds of dough and press into each hole. If the rounds aren’t coming away cleanly from the paper, your dough will need a little more flour kneaded in. Fill each to the top with fruit mince, being careful not to get any fruit on the sides of the tin (they’ll get stuck!).

Reknead the scraps and cut 12 small stars. Place one on the top of the fruit mince and brush with egg white. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden. Leave to cool completely in the pans before attempting to remove, as the pastry is crumbly and delicate when warm. Decorate with a dusting of icing sugar when ready to serve.

  • Gastronomy Gal

    Oh my- looks like you did a fabulous job! I am buying my fruit mince pies- what a cheater!!

  • msihua

    That’s a great idea (baking paper wings)! I’m stealing that idea! Borrowing…. You know, I’ve never had fruit mince pies… I might buy some to try now..

  • http://www.diaryofamadhausfrau.com Lora

    These are so beautiful and I am sure taste like heaven.

  • http://twitter.com/GourmetGetaway Julie Carlyle

    I love fruit mince pies but I have only made them once before. Yours look delicious and the star on top is very cute. I think I will have vto do them again :)

  • http://www.phuocndelicious.com Phuoc’n Delicious

    I must admit, I’m not a fan of fruit mince pies. But yours look gorgeous! The pastry shells are perfect and thanks for the tip for lining the tray with baking paper strips; why didn’t I think of that?

  • http://diaryofaladybird.blogspot.com Ladybird

    These look absolutely scrumptious Emma – YUM! Thank you for sharing this recipe – only yesterday I was wondering where I could get my hands on a good fruit mince recipe. And what a great idea to put a strip of baking paper beneath the pastry for easy removal – genius!

  • Trissa

    Margaret Fulton sure knows her stuff. The pastry on your fruit mince pies looks really good. I might use this pastry recipe for other fillings.

  • http://wayfaringchocolate.com Hannah

    Oh, this is torturous! These pies look so divinely good, with their magical dusting of icing sugar and the golden pastry against the dark, mysterious filling… and yet I can’t stomach fruit mince (I think it’s the citrus peel). How is it fair that something I can’t like in reality can look so good in pictures?!

  • Anonymous

    Nah, at this time of the year it’s a miracle just to get Christmas shopping finished, let alone bake everything from scratch. Sometimes things taste better if other people have made them for you :)

  • http://emmainthekitchen.blogspot.com/ Emma

    aawww I love the little stars on top. So pretty.

    I’ve come late to liking fruit mince pies, I used to hate them but in the past few years I’ve become quite addicted to them for some reason .. never made them though.

  • http://choclogblog.blogspot.com/ Choclette

    These look gorgeous. I especially like your gift idea and packaging – how lovely. So much to do and I always have grand plans, but time runs away with me and so does work. I have managed to make a date and walnut chocolate cake today though and have also got candied orange peel on the go. Hoping to manage a few more things next week.

  • Anonymous

    i love your baking paper wings idea!

  • Cakelaw

    Thanks for the tip about the “wings” under the pies. I made 20 fruit mince pies this year, but lost 4 of them because they stuck to the pan, and the “lids” came off when I tried to get them out. Brilliant idea!

  • http://applesundermybed.blogspot.com Heidi – Apples Under My Bed

    Your Christmas day eats sound delicious! I’ve never loved mince pies. Yours look beautiful, though! Loved the little history tidbit here – I love food history – I can’t believe they were banned!
    Heidi xo

  • http://www.ledelicieux.com Jennifer (Delicieux)

    I have to admit I’ve never been a fan of fruit mince pies. Not sure why, but yours look gorgeous!

    Without a doubt I will be making coconut truffles. They have to be my all time favourite Christmas recipe.

  • http://www.holdthebeef.com Conor @ Hold the Beef

    The hardest part about making fruit mince pies is not eating any of the mince when you check on it during the boozing up period.

    Beautifully executed! That’s always how I present them as well, I think it works a treat :)

  • http://astickyaffair.blogspot.com/ Sheena

    I’m yet to try making my own fruit mince pies, but these ones look really good, especially the pastry!

  • Dunnntoperfection

    They look lovely Emma, I’m someone who hasn’t really ever loved the idea of mince pies – probably because all through my childhood I thought they were made with mince meat! I love the wings idea! PS Can I come to your nanna’s place for Christmas – that selection sounds divine! ;)

  • Roscov48

    Supermarket pies are generrally awful. Bought mince is too sickly. Made my own this year and they are fantastic. Cannot buy as good. Plenty of booze maceration is a must and up to a month even better. A new tradition is born for me.

  • Liliane Nguyen

    how long does the mince keep for? do i have to put it in the freezer after a certain amount of time to keep it?

  • Anonymous

    Hi Liliane. Good question! I’m not entirely sure how long the mince itself lasts for. With a similar composition to fruit cakes (alcohol and sugar as a preservative plus fruit), which keep for 1 year frozen, I’d say the safest way is to freeze any unused mince straightaway in an airtight container. If you have a lot of leftovers, maybe split it across several containers so that when you want to use it again, it will take less time to return to room temperature.

  • Lady Joanella

    About citrus peel in anything – to get the effect in the mix without the strong taste after bighting on a piece of peel (YUK!!!) I always take the time to cut the peel very finely – or put it in the food processor to bash it up.  This works for us and gives just the slightest citrus edge to the recipe, sort of like adding zest to a recipe.

  • http://christmasjoynspirit.com Alison

    Thanks for this recipe
    Christmas Mince pie recipe

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