Raisin, Date, Walnut and Apple Mince Pies with an Orange Icing

By Saturday, December 13, 2014

I literally count down the days each year until the beginning of November when it becomes socially acceptable to start making and eating mince pies...it's a serious problem! I really am obsessed with mince pies, but yet I find it quite hard to come by ones that meet my standards. They have to have a crisp yet crumbly pastry and a mincemeat that is full of flavour and spice, but without candied peel or sultanas! I know, I know, I am very demanding! So, over time I have found the best way to meet this standards is to make my own ones from scratch. This is my favourite recipe at the moment. The pastry is deliciously flavoursome and slightly crumbly, the mincemeat is full of spice and texture and the icing adds a sharp citric hit to each bite. These make delicious Christmas gifts, stocking fillers or are just perfect served with a dollop of cream! 

Makes 18

200g plain flour
50g ground almonds
50g icing sugar
150g butter
1 egg

1 kg raisins
175g dates, pitted and roughly chopped
400g soft brown sugar
150g walnuts, roasted and roughly chopped
5 apples, finely diced
12 squares of crystallised ginger, roughly chopped
400g suet
1 litre orange juice
2 oranges, zested
2 lemons, zested
3 tbsp allspice
2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cloves

Orange icing:
5 tbsp icing sugar, sieved
2 tbsp orange juice

Begin by making the mincemeat a week before. Place all of the mincemeat ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir well to make sure everything is combined. Cover with cling film and leave in a dry place for a week. Every day you have to make sure to stir it really well to ensure the ingredients marinade really well.  If you are going to use it straight away you can leave it in the bowl, otherwise, store in airtight glass jars. 

Then, turn your attention to the pastry. Place the flour, butter, ground almonds and icing sugar in your food processor and blitz until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add in the egg and blitz until the mixture comes together to form a dough. Wrap in cling film and leave to chill for at least 30 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees/ gas 6. Then, roll out until it is around 1/2 inch thick. Cut out 18 circles with your cookie cutter. Butter two cupcake tins and gently place the pastry in each mould. Spoon a heaped tablespoon of mincemeat on top of the pastry, or until it fills up the case. Place in the oven for 10 minutes, then rotate the trays and bake for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wired rack. 

Whilst the pies are cooling make the icing. Add the orange juice to the icing sugar until a thick icing forms. Generously drizzle over the mince pies and leave to set. Serve and enjoy!

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