It is Christmas soon, naturally, it is also time for mince pies! At least it is here in England. It took me a few years living in England before I got into them. As many other immigrants I thought they had mince meat in them and couldn’t get over that. Until my curiosity got the better of me and I was brave enough to ask someone directly. They laughed of course, I tried some and obviously I loved them! I have learned now that you can’t get round them around Christmas anyway, they are everywhere! They are part of the wonderful Christmas tradition this country cherishes so much.
Less and More
The better I start to know some types of food, the more I want to make them myself. That is how I got to make my own mince pies this time. Given the characteristics of mince pies, I couldn’t make them in the traditional way. It wouldn’t be appropriate for a recipe on a website for healthy kid’s food to contain alcohol, would it? So firstly the brandy had to go; I replaced it with orange juice.
Talking about healthy cakes is always a bit a contradictio in terminis anyway, that is why I use the word ‘healthier’ in those cases. I try to only keep the amount of sugar and butter we really need to have it tasty and delicious, definitely no more than that.
That exact amount depends on what you are used to. The same counts for salt, the more you have it, the more you need (want). When you consistently have less sugar, your body doesn’t crave it so much anymore. When I occasionally go for the full sweetness, I immediately want more, I find it hard to resist seconds. If I don’t for a while it just doesn’t comes to mind so much.
I left the suet (this is a particular type of fat) out of the filling as well. I know it is a big element in the traditional recipe, but I just didn’t think we needed it. The sugar in the filling seemed too much to me as well, as the berries and the apples are so sweet already. My last change was that I doubled the amount of apple that went in.
A Dutch touch
The pastry I used, is the one I usually use for a traditional Dutch apple cake, it is a softer type of pastry because it uses icing sugar instead of caster sugar. There as well I reduced the amount of sugar a little, but it still has plenty of calories and sweetness in there, promised!
Half an hour in the oven and ready they were! They turned out a bit more rustic than the shop bought ones but the spices and the fruit make the taste and not so much the sugar and the butter. They are really yummy and well approved by true Brits as well!
|Prep:||Cook:||Yield: 20 mince pies||Total:|
Best prepare filling and pastry beforehand.
- For the pastry
- 200 grams of white flour
- 100 grams of wholemeal flour
- 150 grams of icing sugar
- 200 grams of butter (best to use real butter or at least a firm type of butter)
- 1 egg
- For the filling
- 70 grams of raisins
- 70 grams of dried cranberries
- 70 grams of sultanas
- 70 grams of dried apricots
- zest and juice of 1 orange
- 2 grated apples
- For the finish
- 1 egg
- tbsp of icing sugar
- For the pastry
- Mix the flour, and the sugar.
- Cut up the butter in little cubes.
- Start mixing by hand and squeeze the butter between your fingers until you get a crumbly dry mixture.
- Add the egg, keep kneading until you have one ball of dough.
- Wrap in clingy film and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. The butter needs to firm up again to make the pastry easy to work with.
- For the filling
- Mix the berries.
- Cut the apricots in small pieces.
- Add the spices and mix well.
- Grate the peel of the orange and add to the mixture.
- Squeeze the orange and add the juice to the mixture as well.
- Leave this mixture in the fridge for 24 hours to soak.
- Just before baking, peel and grate the apples and add to the mixture.
- Making the mince pies
- Roll out the dough until 2 to 3 mm thick.
- Stick out circles of 8 cm diameter.
- Spray some cooking spray in the muffin tin.
- Drop the circles in the muffin tin. You don't need to push hard, they will fall into place by gently pressing them down.
- Add half a teaspoon on the bottom of the pies.
- Add a tablespoon of filling in the pies.
- Cut out the shape for the top (star, moon, heart,...) and stick on the top of the mince pies.
- Gently add some beaten egg on the top with a pastry brush.
- Bake in the oven for 30 minutes on 180 degrees Celsius.
from More Than Just Carrots