Everyone seems to love mince pies around this time of year – personally, the thought of mushy fruit and orange peel makes me cringe. Buuuuuuut as this is my first christmas away from home, and it’s quite frosty, I conquered my fears and decided to experiment with some recipes and attempt to create a new tradition of my own. One that I actually liked. I’m pretty sure it worked.
I wanted to make this classic health food friendly: bye bye to dairy and gluten, but I gave in to a weeny bit of sugar. So technically they are (nearly) paleo – No recipe online was exactly what I was after, so I did what any foodie would do and made it up as I went along – I had a whooooooole day free, so I grabbed ingredients that I thought you might find in the pies (or smelt christmassy, either way), wrote down whatever I used and tried my luck at the pies.
The filling itself is basically just fruit with some spices, so there was no need to worry about gluten or dairy being an issue. The shortcrust pastry needed a little bit of research, but I gathered that most recipes required almond meal or flour, vanilla bean paste, honey, eggs (sorry vegan buddies) and some form of fat, like coconut oil or sunflower dairy free spread – I opt’d for the almond meal and dairy free spread, because embarrassingly enough I am….. out of coconut oil (someone shoot me please).
With Frank Sinatra’s classic christmas cd playing, the christmas tree twinkling and the rain pouring outside it was time for some festive magic to start happening in the kitchen – people, this is a wildhoneyandbear original recipe. Get excited. I’ve been working on a few. Not just adaptations, some crazy new creations. Keeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen!
(Almost) Paleo Cranberry and Apricot Mince Pies
What you need for the filling:
200g dried apricots
150g dried cranberries
zest of one large orange
4 tbsp honey
2 tbsp maple syrup
1tsp of ground nutmeg, and cloves.
2 tsp of ground ginger
3 tsp of cinnamon.
75ml whiskey – on another note, to make these super super child friendly, don’t add any whiskey! The alcohol burns off so its just the taste left behind, however you may not want to include it!
a knob of dairyfree spread (such as sunflower or olive based)
What to do: Mix whiskey, honey, maple syrup and knob of dairyfree spread in a large saucepan. Simmer (should bubble and foam up a weeny bit) for approx 7-10 min on a low heat.
Then add all your spices and orange peel, give it a stir.
Add the dried fruit and mix together thoroughly. Let this mix sit on a medium low heat (leaning towards the low side of things), stirring often for about 15-20 min. Leave to cool down slightly.
For the Pastry:
1 1/2 cups almond meal
2 tbsp vanilla bean paste
85g dairyfree spread
3tbsp honey or sweeter of choice.
What to do:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and grease a cupcake tin (I used mini!)
Rub the Dairyfree spread and flour together to create a sand like crumbly mixture
Add the egg and mix together
Work in the vanilla bean paste and honey, kneading the dough
if need be, add some GF plain flour to make the dough less sticky
Put in the fridge for 30 min to harden, then roll out and press into mini cupcake tins.
Bake, covered for 20 min at 180 degrees, then another 10 min uncovered at 150.
While they are baking, roll out the pastry and cut into star shapes or hearts.
Take the pies out of the oven and place one teaspoon of the filling in each one
Cover with pastry hearts or stars, bake for a further 15 min at 150 degrees.
OPTIONAL: Dust with icing sugar once cool!
Much love as always,
Wildhoney and bear