Monday, December 3, 2012

Fruit Mince Pies

Oh my gosh there are only 21 days till Christmas, already I'm feeling like there isn't enough time. I did manage to put my tree up over the weekend though and made fruit mince pies, so really I'm not doing too bad. I guess I'm going for a woodlandy kind of vibe this year, inspired by my funny looking wooden squirrels.
As promised, fruit mince pies (only a couple of days late.) I have had fruit mince hanging out in my fridge for the last week, waiting while its flavours mix and develop and now here's the pie part to match.

The pastry was a bit frustrating to use, its get soft very quickly and while making the pies I considered starting again. I persevered with the pastry and am so glad I did, it baked beautifully, turning out buttery, crisp and crumbly.  I found keeping the pastry cool, not easy as it was a super hot day, and dusting with a lot of flour when rolling and cutting made it easier to work with.

All up I think these are my best fruit mince pies yet, not only is the pastry yummy I also love the fruit filling. The addition of the dried cranberries makes them that bit different and are a nice change from the usual excess of raisins and currents. These pie are sweet and spicy with that little extra kick from the rum, everything you want at this time of year.
 For the fruit mince filling -See this post for the instructions.
(preferably make the fruit filling a week ahead or at least the day before) 

2 1/2 cups mix fruit (mine had sultanas, raisins, currents and mixed peel)
1/4 cup dried apricots
1 cup dried cranberries (craisins)
1/2 cup red glace cherries
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup brown sugar 
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup orange marmalade
4 tablespoons spiced rum
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
 For the pastry (double, if you want to use all the fruit filling)
2 cups plain flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
185 grams butter, cubed
1/4 cup caster sugar
2 egg yolks
1-2 tablespoons cold water (if needed)
1 egg white, lightly beaten

To make the pastry- add the flour, baking powder and butter to a food processor  process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add sugar and egg yolks, process until combined. If the mixture is still crumbly, add a little water to form a dough. 
Knead the dough until smooth and divide into two disks, wrap the pastry in cling wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c. and grease a cupcake pan with non stick spray. If you like, line each cupcake pan with a strip of backing paper to help with removing the pies.

Re-kneed the chilled dough and dust with flour, roll the dough between 2 sheets of non stick paper to about 1/2 cm thick. 

Using a large round cutter or glass cut out the pastry circles, re-roll the left over pastry and cut out an equal number of stars. 

Gently press one circle of pastry into each cupcake pan hole. Fill each pastry base with a heaped teaspoon of fruit filling and top with a pastry star.

Brush the exposed pastry with a little egg white and bake pies for around 15 minutes or until they're lightly golden. Remove from the pan once the pies are cool.
The smell in the kitchen while these are baking is awesome, enjoy the scent and enjoy the pies.

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