Mince Pies (Tarts) were traditionally made with a mixture of meat, dried fruit, suet and spices at Christmas time. Thankfully that tradition has long passed into legend and what remains are the mince pies we have today. Similar to a butter tart but packed to the rafters with dried fruit, apples, zesty orange and lemons and warm winter spices. All wrapped up in a buttery pastry. Serve warm with cream or ice cream, or traditional ‘brandy butter’.
1 cup apple, grated
½ cup non-dairy or regular butter
¾ cup Anita’s Organic Sultanas/Thompson Raisins/Currant Raisins (either one or a combination of)
½ cup Anita’s Organic Apricots, chopped finely
½ cup Anita’s Organic Cranberries
¾ cup Anita’s Organic Light Brown Sugar
Juice and zest 1 orange
Juice and zest 1 lemon
½ cup walnuts, chopped
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp allspice
¼ cup brandy/rum/whiskey (omit if baking for children)
Buttery Pie Pastry – Single Crust (makes 12 mince pies)
3 tbsp Anita’s Organic Cane Sugar
½ tsp salt
¾ cup vegan or regular butter, cold
½ cup ice cold water
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Place all the ingredients in a large heavy based pan. Bring to a boil and then simmer the mixture over a low flame until the mixture is soft, thick and sticky. This will take approx. 30 to 40 minutes. Do not allow to burn.
Allow to cool and then decant into mason jars. This recipe makes 4 x 16oz jars. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. For longer storage follow regular canning methods.
In a large bowl mix together the flour, sugar and salt.
Drop teaspoon size scoops of butter into the flour mixture and either using your fingertips or a pastry cutter lightly work the butter into the flour until almost all the butter has been incorporated and the mixture resembles wet sand. If there are a few pea size lumps of butter left in the mixture that is fine, it will add some flakiness to the pastry.
Mix the vinegar into the ice water and slowly, 1 tablespoon at a time, add the water mixture to the flour mixture to form a soft dough. Form the dough into a ball, flatten into a disk and then wrap it in cling wrap and place in the fridge for an hour to rest.
To Assemble the Mince Tarts
Pre-heat the oven to 400F (425F if your oven is on the cool side) and brush liberally with oil the insides of a 12-cup muffin/cupcake tray.
On a floured surface roll out the pastry to ½ cm thick. Using a large round or fluted pastry/cookie cutter, cut out 12 rounds and place them carefully into the prepared muffin tray. Fill each little crust with 1 to 1.5 tsp of the mince tart filling.
Re-roll the remainder of the pastry and cut out 12 smaller fluted rounds to use as tart lids. Wet the edges of the lids with water and place firmly but gently on top of the already filled crust. Press down gently on the joined edges to help them seal. If a smaller lid or decorative pastry shape is preferred for the tops, use a festive cookie cutter such as a star and just place the cut out on top of the filling.
Brush the tops of the pastry with milk and sprinkle with a little cane sugar. Bake in the center of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Do not allow to burn.
When fully cooked, remove the tray from the oven and allow the tarts to cool down for a few minutes. You want to get the tarts out of the tray as soon as possible because any filling that’s bubbled up onto the pan sides may harden and make it difficult to get the pies out. Take care when removing the pies as the filling will stay piping hot for some time.
Serve tarts warm – dusted with a little icing sugar (if desired) along with cream or vanilla ice cream.