By Laura Campbell

Creative Christmas Fruit Mince Pies

Melt the stress of Christmas with this recipe for 18 fresh-baked treats!

  • 225g cold butter, diced
  • 350g plain or wholemeal flour
  • 100g caster sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 280g fruit mince (recipe to follow)
  • 1 egg white
  • icing sugar, to dust
  • 20 x 5cm hole patty tin or mini-muffin tray (greased with butter)
Fruit Mince:
  • 1 small Granny Smith (green) apple; peeled, cored and grated
  • 285g mixed dried fruit (I used chopped dried apricots, raisins and sultanas)
  • 60g glace cherries
  • 1/3 cup bitter orange marmalade
  • 1/4 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablepoons whisky or orange juice
  • 2 tablepoons water

How to make amazing mince pies: Preheat oven to 180°C (356°F). Sift flour into a medium-sized bowl. Rub in the cold butter until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add in the sugar and a pinch of salt. Knead until the mixture combines into a smooth ball. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

When pastry is chilled but workable, turn onto a floured surface. Divide into two halves and set one half aside (this will later form the tops of your mince pies). With a rolling pin, roll the other half of your pastry into a smooth disc around 0.5cm thick. Using a glass or 6.5cm cutter, cut out 18 rounds to form the pastry bases (re-roll any offcuts of pastry to the same thickness as required).

Insert your pastry discs into each hole, pressing well into the edges of the tin (don't worry if the pastry is a little crumbly, this is normal for 'short' dough; just press the fragmented parts back together). Prick the bases with a fork and brush with egg white to seal. Add one heaped teaspoon of fruit mince into each case (see recipe above and instructions to the right).

Roll out your reserved pastry to 0.5cm thick. Cut out 5cm rounds with a biscuit cutter. Brush edges with remaining egg white and place on top of your filled mince pies. Press well to seal, then glaze with remaining egg white and dust with caster sugar.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until light and fragrant (the tops of the pies should be slightly firm and dry to the touch). Cool in the tin over a wire rack.

To serve, twist each pie slightly to release it from the tray and then lift out carefully. Dust with icing sugar to serve.

Fruit Mince instructions: Combine all of the ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Mix well, cover and refrigerate overnight (for at least 8 hours) for the liquid to absorb.

The next morning, stir your mixture well. Your fruit should be plump and fragrant, with a little thickened liquid at the bottom of the bowl. Use as per the recipe above.

Any leftover fruit mince can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to five days or frozen for up to three months.

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