Just a quick hello before I go out to the post office, supermarket, Moroccan shop, forest for more cones and make more of these mince pies. The list is actually a lot longer than that but I am out of bed before 10 am (unheard of) and am not going to get stressed about anything today. I have promised myself. And breathe…
This is my recipe for mince pies and I have to say that, in my opinion, they beat any shop bought ones by a mile. They are better because: number one they contain Amaretto almond liqueur and anything tastes better with Amaretto in it. They also contain chopped toasted almonds for a bit of crunch, dried cranberries, mandarin zest and, the special ingredient, crystallised ginger. Make these and you’ll never go back to shop bought I promise. Even if you have an ever-increasing list of things to do….
In the pictures and the recipe below I have used shop bought puff pastry but I have also made a lovely batch with this spelt flour pastry recipe adding a teaspoon of mixed spice to the flour. If you don’t have all the different dried fruits you can just use the more traditional, raisins and sultanas.
Marvelous Mince Pies Recipe
Makes 12- 16 pies, vegetarian
- 1 pack frozen puff pastry (defrosted)
- 4 Tbsp molasses/miel de cana/maple syrup
- 75 ml sweet sherry or port
- 250 g moscatel raisins
- 50 g dried figs
- 50 g dried apricots, chopped
- 50 g medjool dates without stones
- 50 gr dried cranberries
- 50 g crystallised ginger, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp mixed spice
- 1 mandarin, zest first & then juice
- about 50ml Amaretto (or Cointreau is nice)you may need to add more
- a few drops of almond extract
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp honey
- about 100 -150 gr chopped toasted almonds, roughly chopped
- olive oil for brushing
- icing sugar for dusting
In a large pan, dissolve the molasses/miel de cana in the sherry over a gentle heat. Then add the dried fruits, crystallised ginger, spices, zest and juice of the mandarin and the Amaretto. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for about 15 minutes until all of the liquid has been absorbed stirring occasionally. You may need to add more amaretto if it is absorbed quickly.
Add the almond & vanilla extracts, honey and the nuts. Stir well to combine everything and leave the mixture to cool in a bowl.
When the mixture is cool (very important or the pastry won’t work), preheat the oven to 200 degrees and oil & flour your muffin tins.
Roll out your first piece of puff pastry to a thickness of 2mm (leave the other piece in the fridge). Cut out 6 circles of about 9 or 10 cm diameter and 6 tops of about 7 cm diameter, you may have to re roll the pastry and may get a few more than 6 if you do. Push the larger circles into the muffin tins and fill each pastry case with a dessertspoonful of the mixture. Brush the edges of the pastry base with a little oil and then top with the smaller circles. Push the edges together to seal.
Make a little slit in the top of each with a sharp knife and brush with a little olive oil (or egg wash) and bake for about 15 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and puffy. Keep an eye on them they cook quickly. Leave to cool for a few minutes then take them out of the tin. Leave the tin to cool down completely before rolling out your next batch.
Dust with icing sugar just before serving. You can serve hot, warm or room temperature with cream, ice cream or a glass of Amaretto on the side….
Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Felices Fiestas!