Christmas Mince Pies are a very divisive topic. Everyone has an opinion on what the best ingredients are – more citrus, less currants, heavy on the brandy and that’s just the filling. Are you the flakey type or a sweet short fan? These opinions are in large part because Christmas Mince Pies have such a rich and heartwarming history. They have been recorded as warming the bellies of the Brits from as early as the 17th Century, albeit with ox tongue or beef fillet shredded through the pie, hence the name, Christmas mince pies.
As with all things that have a long history, they develop and mature with time. I have taken the opportunity to develop the recipe a little further, favouring citrus, fig and hazelnut to give a lighter taste and texture to the pie. My personal favourite way to eat them is with The Epicurean Architect Essentials sweet short crust pastry, miniature size with a steaming glass of spiced mulled wine.
MAKES 2 LARGE OR 6 SMALL JARS OF FRUIT MINCE
500g apples, cored & grated, preferably braeburn
150g mixed citrus peel
2 large oranges - zest & juice
10 dried figs, thinly sliced
45g hazelnuts, roasted & finely chopped
150g soft brown sugar
2 tsp allspice ground
1 tsp cloves ground
½ tsp cinnamon ground
¼ tsp nutmeg ground
¼ cup Cointreau orange spirits
1. Sterlise 2 large jars or 6 small jars and lids by cleaning thoroughly with soapy water, rinse well and place on a tray in the oven for 12 minutes at 50°C.
2. While the jars are sterlising mix all the fruit mince ingredients together in a large bowl. When the jars are ready, carefully lift out with tongs and spoon in the fruit mince and seal with lids immediately.
3. Figgy Christmas Fruit Mince can keep in sterilised jars for up to 4 months in the fridge.
4. When Santa comes a knocking, make 1 batch of The Epicurean Architect Essentials sweet short pastry
, roll out to ½ cm thickness, cut into rounds and mini stars and line a greased mini pie/muffin tin. Fill pies with Figgy Christmas fruit mince and place 2 small pastry stars on each pie top. Bake at 180°C for 12 minutes or until lightly golden.
Enjoy with a glass of steaming Spiced Mulled Wine.
Enjoy, savour & devour!