Fruit Mince Pies

Introduction

This is a recipe I’ve put together from a number of sources, and tweaked over the last couple of years.  Please be aware that the quantities for the fruit mince are enough to make about 60-70 pies, while the pastry will make about 30.  The fruit mince filling will keep in the fridge for several weeks, so I normally make a couple of batches of pastry over a few weeks and keep using the same batch of filling.  Alternatively, you could just halve the filling ingredients to make the right quantity for a single batch of pastry.

Fruit mince

Serves: 60-70 pies

The fruit mince should be made 2-6 weeks before you plan on baking the pies.  The longer you let the fruit mix sit, the richer the flavour will be.

Ingredients

  • 5 cups (1 kg) sultanas
  • 2 cups (300 g) currants
  • 2 cups (375 g) raisins
  • 100 g glaced cherries
  • 2 green apples, peeled and grated
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mixed spices
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 150 g unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brandy

Method

Combine all fruit and dry ingredients in a bowl and mix.Melt butter, then add to fruit mix along with brandy.
Mix ingredients well, then refrigerate for 2-6 weeks stirring daily.  The longer you leave the fruit to soak in the fridge the richer the flavour will be.

Pastry

Serves: 30 pies

Unlike the fruit mince, the pastry should be made at the time you plan to bake the pies.  Pastry is generally easier to make when the weather is cooler, so try and avoid making it on days over 25°C.  On a warmer day, only take the pastry out of the fridge as you need it.

Ingredients

  • 225 g plain flour
  • 75 g self-raising flour
  • 1/3 cup icing sugar
  • 150 g unsalted butter, chilled
  • 1 egg yolk

Method

Combine flours, icing sugar and a pinch of salt in a large mixing bowl.  Cut butter into cubes, then add to the bowl.
Cut the butter into cubes
Cut the butter into cubes

With your hands, combine the ingredients until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

The mixture should resemble bread crumbs
The mixture should resemble bread crumbs
Add egg yolk and 2 tablespoons of cold water, then mix with your hands or a spoon.  Continue to add cold water one tablespoon at a time until the mixture forms a smooth ball.  Generally I find about 8 tablespoons of cold water is enough to get the right consistency.
Gradually add water until the pastry is smooth and slightly sticky
Gradually add water until the pastry is smooth and slightly sticky
Wrap the pastry in cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 180°C.Grease a muffin tray with butter.  I find the rubbery silicon trays to be best, because it’s easy to pop the pies out once they’re done.Break the ball of pastry in two – it will be more manageable that way.  Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface until it is 2-3 mm thick.

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Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface until it is 2-3 mm thick

As you roll out the pastry, keep the surface floured and flip the pastry over frequently.  If your pastry was a bit sticky to begin with, sprinkle additional flour on top as you roll it out.  A tea strainer can help to spread the flour evenly.

Cut the pastry into 7cm circles and carefully press them into the base of the muffin tray.

Press the pastry circles into the muffin tray
Press the pastry circles into the muffin tray

Add about 1 tablespoon of fruit filling to each pie.

Fill the shells with fruit mince
Fill the shells with fruit mince
Next, cut out lids for the pies.  I normally use a star shape, but it’s up to you how you want to decorate them.  If you’re putting a full lid on the pies, I would suggest brushing a bit of water around the edge of the pie where the two sheets of pastry will join and prick a couple of holes in the lid with a fork to stop the pies from bursting in the oven.  This isn’t necessary for stars as they sit directly on the fruit and are not completely sealed.
Cut out the pie tops
Cut out the pie tops
Brush the top of the pies with milk and sprinkle with sugar.
Place the stars on top and sprinkle with sugar
Place the stars on top and sprinkle with sugar
Bake for 15 minutes.  Be careful not to over cook the pies.  The pastry might feel a bit soft in the oven, but as the butter cools they will harden.

Remove the pies from the oven, and allow to cool slightly before removing from the tray.  Once you are able to handle the pies, take them out of the tray and transfer them to a wire rack to cool.

Enjoy a pie warm out of the oven!
Enjoy a pie warm out of the oven!

When serving, sprinkle the pies with icing sugar.  This is best done just before serving, otherwise the icing sugar might dissolve into the pies.
Download a printable version here.

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