Have Your Cake and Eat It
A Christmas staple. The components can be prepped in advance so that you can whip up a batch of oven-fresh, gluten-free mince pies on Christmas morning. Sunflower spread can be substituted for butter – and soy milk in place of egg – to suit dairy-free and vegan diets.
I like to make a vegetarian mincemeat, replacing suet with apple because I find it hard to get my hands on a gluten-free vegetarian suet. Go crazy with the fruits you use – the more variety, the better. This can be made in advance and kept in the fridge for weeks.
YOU WILL NEED
For the mincemeat
100g soft brown sugar
125ml orange juice
1 tsp mixed spice
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ginger
Pinch of nutmeg
125g apple, grated
250g dried fruit (currants, sultanas, cranberries, raisins, chopped prunes)
100g mixed peel
Zest of 1 orange
For the pastry
150g rice flour
25g gram flour
40g ground almonds
1 tsp xanthan gum
50g icing sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
125g butter, at room temperature
Zest of 1 orange
Start your mincemeat by combining the butter, sugar, orange juice and the spices in a saucepan. Heat until the butter has melted, then add the apple, dried fruit, peel and orange zest and stir. Bring the mixture to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes until the apples have softened. Finally, add the rum and allow to cool.
Now start your pastry. Sieve all the dry ingredients, excluding the zest, into a bowl. Chop or tear the butter into chunks and add. Zest the orange over the mix. Rub the butter in with your fingertips until everything comes together, then add the egg to bind the mix.
Wrap the mix in clingfilm and refrigerate for at least an hour. Do not skip this step. You can also freeze it for up to two months.
When everything has chilled, dust a counter with cornflour and gently roll out two-thirds of the pastry thinly. Using large round cutters, cut out 12 discs, then place them into a fairy cake tray and spoon a tablespoon of mincemeat into each.
Now roll out the remaining pastry and cut stars, Christmas trees, snowflakes or whatever you like to decorate the top of the pies.
Bake them for 20-30 minutes at 170°C. Keep an eye on them as the cinnamon will have darkened the pastries, making it difficult to see when they are done. Take them out of the oven and allow to cool. Dust with icing sugar to serve and enjoy with brandy cream, or simply straight from the tin as we do in my house!