Mince pie is of British origin. The filling used for the pies is made of meat, suet and dry fruits usually mixed with alcohol to preserve the meat. This is also called as Christmas pie and that is the reason I chose to do it this year. Nowadays mince pies are made without meat, with just the dry fruits but still instead of butter suet ( fat from pigs) is used. As we have only ten days to Christmas, I wanted to share some Christmas treats in the blog and channel.
When I read about the meat in the filling, I was in confusion whether to go forward with the recipe. Then I used paneer instead of meat just to add that savoury element in the recipe. The addition of orange juice instead of alcohol is one of my regular method of soaking dry fruits. This year, I made a Christmas cake for the Christmas baking class with soaked fruits and it is super hit with students. I guess I can also use this mice in plum cake. Let me try it later, but today I will show you how to make these delicious vegetarian mince pies.
The preparation of the mince took two days and two days later I made the pies. But you can refrigerate the mince meat for nearly three months and if using alcohol, then it would last even more. The option for the addition of dry fruits in the mince is endless. Use whichever fruits you like. I went with tutti frutti, figs, apricots, cranberries and raisins. You can also add nuts to the mix. Which I completely forgot until last minute. You still have lots of time to prepare the mince and then the pies. So what are you waiting for?
Making the pie crust is equally important to get that buttery flaky pies. So watch the video and note down the points before trying. Use only ice cold milk and butter. Never use your palm, only finger tips to break down butter and never knead the dough. If you follow everything, your pies will have a really flaky crust. The mince is tart because of all the dry fruits and lemon juice added. If you prefer it sweet, then add some sugar while cooking the mince to add the sweetness. Traditional mince doesn’t have any added sugar, so I haven’t added any.
Makes 8 Pies
For 850 gm Sweet Mince:
Apricots – 50 gm
Golden Raisins – 50 gm
Black Raisins – 50 gm
Cranberries – 50 gm
Candied Gooseberry – 50 gm
Tutti Frutti – 50 gm
Figs – 50 gm
Orange Juice – 400 ml
Zest of two Oranges
Zest of two lemons
Juice of two lemons
Apple – 1
Paneer – 150 gm
Butter – 40 gm
Cinnamon – 1 tsp
Ginger – 1/2 tsp
For The Pastry Crust:
Maida – 100 gm
Butter – 50 gm, chilled and cubed
Ice cold Milk – 2 tbs
Sugar – 1 tsp
Salt – a pinch
For The Mince:
In a bowl, combine all the dry fruits, orange juice and orange zest. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
In a pan, take the soaked dry fruits, add zest of one lemon, grated apple, lemon juice, cinnamon, ginger and butter.
Bring it to boil.
Cook on low flame for 10-15 minutes until it has soaked up 80% of the liquid.
Add paneer, give a good stir and remove from flame.
Allow this to cool.
Transfer to small jars and refrigerate for one day to three months in refrigerator. More it stays in fridge, it becomes more flavourful.
To Make The Pastry:
Combine maida, ice cold cubed butter, sugar and salt.
With finger tips crumble the butter and rub it into flour until butter is broken to pea sized pieces.
Add cold milk and gather the dough together. Do not knead.
Wrap the dough in cling film and refrigerate until slightly firm to touch, 20-30 minutes.
Arranging and Baking The Pies:
On a rolling mat, sprinkle flour, place the dough on it, sprinkle more flour and place a cling film on top.
Roll it to a 1/4″ thick disc.
Use a cookie cutter and cut out rounds.
Place each round inside a small tart mould and press to shape.
Add some mince inside.
Roll the remaining dough and using a star cookie cutter, cut out stars.
Place each star on top of each mould.
Place a dried cranberry on top of all the stars.
Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 170C.
Bake the chilled pies in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
Allow them to cool a bit and remove them from the mould.
Cool them completely over wire rack.