These Christmas mince pies are a delicious alternative to your traditional mince pie and a tad healthier. They contain no dried fruit so they'll be a hit with anyone who is on a sulphite free diet. I love that they are completely sugar free with only the flavour and subtle sweetness of the fruit coming through with the almond pastry. Serve hot or cold with coconut cream (optional) and they will be a super treat for any Christmas celebration.
If you're super busy, you can buy shop bought GF & DF pastry as a time saver. The almond pasty is absolutely delicious but cannot be rushed as it's quite delicate to work with. It's well worth the extra time and loving care though!
Prep: 1.30 hour Cooking time: 25 mins Makes: 9
Equipment you will need:
500g Pears, peeled and diced into
2 Bramley apples, peeled and diced into small chunks
100g Chestnuts, chopped into
½ tsp Ground cinnamon
¼ tsp Mixed spice
¼ tsp Ground nutmeg
1 tsp Ground cardamon
2 Star anise
130g Frozen blueberries
To make the filling:
Tip: Prepare the filling ahead of time so that it has time to cool down before it's required.
1. Place all of the ingredients except the blueberries, into a saucepan and add 1 tablespoon of water and bring to the boil. Once boiling, simmer gently for a few minutes until cooked.
2. Add the frozen blueberries and stir through.
3. You may need to drain off any excess liquid, then leave to cool.
Preparing the pastry
- This pastry is very delicate and needs to be rolled out in smaller sized portions compared to your standard gluten pastry that is easier to handle.
- The quantity of filling is double for what you need, but it's great to freeze half ready for your next batch which will make your prep time quicker.
200g ground almond
100g dairy free spread
1 medium egg
1 small whisked egg for glazing
Extra ground almond to dust the pastry
Finely ground desiccated coconut
Gold edible glitter (optional)
To make the pastry:
1. Place all of the ingredients into a food processor and blend until the mixture forms a dough like ball.
2. Remove mixture from the processor. Dusting with some of the ground almond, form into a ball and wrap in cling film, and then leave it to rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.
3. Preheat your oven to 160˚C (my oven is fan assisted so you may need to adjust your oven accordingly) and then grease your tart tin with a little olive oil or dairy free spread.
4. When your pastry is chilled, remove from the cling film and cut into quarters.
5. Dust your work surface well and roll one portion out flat. You will need to be generous dusting with ground almond as you roll as it can get a little sticky. You will get a feel for how much you need. I tend to run a large bladed knife under the bottom of the pastry which helps reduce the pastry sticking to the surface.
6. Using your larger pastry cutter, cut out your base circles, lift with the support of a large knife blade and very gently ease them into your prepared tin, being careful not to break the pastry. If it does break, you can use your fingers to ease the pastry back together.
7. Repeat until you have 9 bases, and then with a teaspoon, add your cooled filling.
8. Begin rolling out the rest of your pastry for your pie lids. Use the smaller cutter for these and dampen the edges of the bases with a little water to help seal the tops. (NB. if you're decorating with holly leaves, then be sure to leave a little extra pastry for these.)
9. When complete, insert a small knife blade just into the tops to allow air and steam from the pies to flow.
10. If you have the time and a little holly leaf cutter, cut out your leaves, brush the tops of your pies with the beaten egg, and then add the holly leaves.
11. Finally, brush once more with the beaten egg and place into your preheated oven for 25 minutes.
12. When cooked, remove from the oven and place on a wire wrack to cool. Using a sieve, dust with a little fine desiccated coconut, and as an optional extra, sprinkle over a little gold edible glitter for an extra sparkle.
13. They are super lovely served warm or cold. Eat and enjoy.
Inspiration and Tips:
Gluten free I Dairy free I Soy free I Yeast free I Sugar free I Sulphite free