Traditionally I make my own fruit mince pies well in advance as I like to allow my fruit and nut mix to soak in my chosen alcohol for months before I make them.
This year I've been so busy that I haven't had time to do this, so I thought I'd try mixing the ingredients with some brandy and vacuum seal in a canister for 12 hours, to test if this infusion method would work.
Guess, what...it does! My newly baked mince pies are absolutely delicious, I ought to stop eating the test samples!! These are also ideal to freeze until your guests arrive, simply vacuum seal in your canister and place in your freezer, then remove approx 2 hours before serving to defrost.
Best served warmed, dusted with icing sugar and a scoop of your favourite ice-cream. Below is my favourite recipe and a couple of hot tips to help you save time and money. Enjoy!
Fruit Mince Pies
Prep: 2 hours | Cook: 15 minutes | Extra time: 12 hours, soaking overnight | Makes 12
65g mixed peel
125g butter, softened
250g peeled and finely chopped granny smith apples
250g brown sugar
grated rind of 1/2 lemon
grated rind of 1/2 orange
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch each of nutmeg and allspice
1 cup (250ml) brandy
For the Pastry
125g self raising flour
125g plain flour
2 tablespoons icing sugar
1 egg yolk
3 tablespoons cold water[/tab] [tab]
Make sure all ingredients are finely chopped to around the same sized pieces.
1. In a large bowl, mix all the fruit, chopped apples, butter, rind and spices together till well combined. Dissolve the sugar in the brandy and pour it over the mixture.
2. TIP: Vacuum seal in a canister for a minimum of 12 hours.
3. To make the pastry: sift the flours and then either rub in the butter or combine in a food processor. Add the sifted icing sugar and then stir in the egg yolk and water and mix it all to a dough. Work into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, then put in the fridge for an hour.
TIP: If preferred use pre-made pastry from the frozen foods section, just as yummy!
4. Preheat oven to 180°C and grease a 12 hole muffin tin.
5. To assemble: roll out the dough on a floured surface till about 2mm thick. Cut out shapes to fit the muffin holes, fill each tart with a generous teaspoon of mince (but don't overfill) and cover the top of each tart with another circle of pastry.
TIP: Use biscuit cutters to add different shapes to the top.
6. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes then remove to a rack to cool off.