I LOVE starting Christmas day early. We all get up around 5.30am and gather in the lounge. I love a nice strong flat white in hand and get the oven on warming the traditional Christmas fruit mince pies.
The sweet smell it generates through the house is soooo beautiful. This helps with developing those lasting memories which are so important for creating traditions on this family-orientated day. Blessings and Gratitude come with this recipe.
Traditional Christmas fruit mince pies
To make the fruit mince
I find it best to make this Christmas fruit mince at least 24 hours ahead of when it’s needed. It will keep for months in a jar in the fridge and improves with age.
150g raisins, chopped
3 apples, peeled and grated
1 packed cup soft brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground allspice
finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup brandy (optional)
3/4 cup hazelnuts or pine nuts, toasted and chopped
Place all ingredients except the nuts in a large bowl and mix to combine. Transfer to a jar and store in the fridge until needed. When ready to use, stir in the hazelnuts or pine nuts.
To make the pastry
2 cups of flour
Pinch of salt
¼ cup of water
Sift flour onto a cold surface, make a well into the centre and add the salt, chopped butter, egg and water. Work the ingredients together with the fingertips, gradually blending in the flour.
Knead lightly until smooth. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 mins.
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C. Have ready 2 x 12 mini muffin tins (preferably non stick).
To make the filling
350g fruit mince (recipe follows)
1 apple, peeled, cored and grated/finely diced
Grated rind of 1 orange or lemon
1 Tbs of Brandy (optional)
Combine the fruit mince, apple, rind and brandy and cook gently until the apple is soft. Cool slightly.
Roll out pastry and arrange in your pie tins. Using a round cookie cutter that’s slightly bigger than the muffin cups, cut the pastry into 24 rounds. (To prevent the pastry from sticking to the counter and to ensure uniform thickness, keep lifting up and turning the pastry a quarter turn as you roll and always roll from the center of the pastry outwards).
Gently place the rounds into the muffin cups. Use the balls of your fingers to press the pastry rounds neatly into the edge and top with a heaped teaspoon of your fruit mince. Cover with a pastry lid (don’t overfill or it may boil out).
Gather up any leftover scraps of pastry and re roll. Cut out 24 stars or other shapes using a small cookie cutter, and gently place the stars on top of the fruit mince.
Bake at 180 for 12-15 mins.
Dust with icing sugar before serving with a steaming hot cup of hot chocolate for the kids, and strong coffee for the adults!