How satisfying to make your own mincemeat from scratch? Mince pies are one of my favourite things about Christmas-time, I'll eat them for breakfast lunch and dinner if I can get away with it.
This homemade mincemeat can be 100% tailored to you! I put chunky apple bits in mine and extra dried cranberries because I love them but you could chuck in dried blueberries, chopped dried apricots, even goji berries! (I hate goji berries, but you might love them).
Once again, I go for the lazy option for the pastry, my local health food shops ready made vegan pastry, but feel free to make your own (there's a recipe here).
So are you wondering about the cream cheeze? It was a tip from a fellow pudding loving friend and just having that little blob hiding under the pastry lid really cuts through the richness and the sweetness of the mincemeat, kind of like if you had it with cream poured over it, but more compact.
This amount makes enough for about 2 dozen mince pies.
your choice of 2 cups of dried fruit. I used 1 cup raisins, 1/2 cup sultanas and 1/2 cup dried cranberries
4 medium sized apples, peeled and cored
juice and zest of 1 orange
1/3 cup water
2 tbsp molasses
1 tsp cinammon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp brandy (not essential but delicious)
some sugar for sprinkle duty
Once you've chopped and peeled the apples you can either cut them into little matchsticks like I did because I like it chunky style, or you could grate them so they mush right down.
Make your choice, then put the prepared apple into a pan with all the other ingredients.
Put over a medium high heat until the liquid starts boiling (stir it a bit too). Once it's started to boil, turn the heat down and leave it to simmer. Stir it regularly until all the liquids dissolved and it's all thick like this:
You did it! That's mincemeat. YUM. So turn off the heat and wait for that stuff to cool right down (if you're in a rush, tip it into a bowl and whack it in the fridge).
Roll out your pastry and grease your little pie tray and cut the circles out and lay them in the tray.
Spoon the mincemeat into the pie shells pretty much to the top, there should be almost zero fluid in the mix now so there's no fear of it all bubbling out. Put about half a teaspoon of vegan cream cheese on top too.
Cut out more circles and lay them over the filling. Try and crimp them a little bit around the edges to make them stick but don't worry if they don't stick completely.
Heat your oven to around Gas mark 4.5/380F/190C until the pastry has browned (around 15-20 minutes).
Once they're done, scoop 'em out of the tray and onto a board and sprinkle with some granulated sugar while they're still warm.
You could either eat them like this, warm out of the oven, or wait for them to cool and have with some brandy butter (recipe coming up), or with some icecream! or for breakfast! or for lunch! yay mince pies!