The pastry in these mince pies is crisp and the filling juicy with lots of apple, dried fruit, spices and a nice zing from the lemon. The alcohol adds another dimension, though leave it out if preferred.
You can use vegetable suet or vegan margarine in the mincemeat, we tried both and it made very little difference. Suet is easier to mix in but gluten-free vegetable suet is quite hard to come by. Vegan margarine is easy to find in the shops but really needs to be rubbed into the mixture by hand.
1. Make pastry using one of the recipes at the end of this entry.
2. Place all the mincemeat ingredients in a bowl except the apple and margarine/suet. Very finely chop half of the apple and grate the rest: this gives the mincemeat extra texture. Add it to the bowl.
2. If using suet add to the bowl and mix everything together well. If using margarine, rub it into the mixture thoroughly.
3. If possible leave the mixture in the fridge for a day before use so that the dried fruit can absorb the lemon juice and brandy.
4. Roll out the pastry. If using the gluten-free pastry roll it out between cling film. Use a cutter (about 2.75 inch) to cut the pastry into 24 rounds. Place them onto bun trays. Fill each with a genorous teaspoon full of mincemeat then press down. Roll out the remaing pastry and use a 2 inch (5cm) star cutter to cut tops. Place these onto the pies and bake for 15-20 minutes at 200C/400F until slightly golden.
Makes 24 small mince pies
The quantities of pastry given below make 24 mince pies with a star pattern on the top (as pictured). If you make mince pies which are fully covered with pastry, the mixture below will make about 18.
We use the gluten-free pastry recipe below, but have also provided a recipe for wheat pastry as an alternative.
3floz (90ml) water
Make pastry by rubbing the margarine into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add water to bind the flour into a dough which is soft, but not sticky. If necessary add a little extra water. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before use.
Make pastry by rubbing the margarine into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add enough water to make a dough which is soft, but not sticky. If prefered replace all/part of the margarine with white fat (e.g. Trex). Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before use.