It's Not Christmas Without Mince Pies
Nothing in Britain speaks more to you of a festive treat as a Mince Pie. For those of you reading and from afar, please don’t run away: this is a sweet mince pie , with not one bit of meat to be seen. Full of dried fruit in cooked in spices and booze, encased in a crumbly shortcrust pastry, they are the most delicious morsels that hit the spot when festive baking.
Of course, in the 12th Century, they where made with meat and resembled nothing like what we see now. For a start, they where rectangular. That’s until those sweet toothed Victorians got their hands on them and we get what we have today.
But we shoot forward to now, we’ve dropped the meat, we've added the booze, but still kept the spices that The Crusaders brought back with them many moons ago. There's your history lesson over for this week, now to the bake...
Yep, it's pastry, every Gluten Free baker's nemesis. So, I needed to think what to do to achieve this buttery and crumbly nature of Short Crust pastry. After many bakes failed for different reasons, and after even more bakes to check this recipe is consistent and foolproof, I eventually came up with a recipe that works just right.
I’ve xanthan for stretch, block vegan butter (don't use the spread, it doesn't work) and as the egg yolk substitution, I'm using apple sauce. If you're screaming, "NO! Why?" the answer is, "because it WORKS!" You don’t add too much moisture, which leads to tough pastry. It sticks everything together.
You can use a jar of ready made apple sauce or make your own using some cooking apples and a little water. I’ve opted for homemade and if you do the same, make sure it’s cold. Make it the day before and leave it in the fridge.
I did mine in my stand mixer as it did the best and most consistent job, with no worrying about hand temperature. I’m sure you could do the "rubbing in with your hand" method, but I’ve not tried it. Feel free - if it looks the same as my pictures you are doing it right.
Now, this year I'm taking it easy on you, you can use a jar of mincemeat, just make sure it fits your dietary requirements. Of course, you can make your own, and there are lots of recipes to choose from online - the BBC Food recipe is similar to my own, but you can choose which you like the look of. Now... Let's bake!
Crumbly Shortcrust Pastry Pies filled with traditional sweet mincemeat filling. This recipe makes a minimum of 10 pies can be doubled or halved depending on how many you can eat! Suitable for freezing: defrost at room temperature and re heat either in the oven for 5 minutes at or microwave for 10 seconds and enjoy
- 300 g Gluten Free Plain Flour
- 150 g Fridge Cold Vegan Butter Block not Spread
- 3/4 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum (omit if your blend contains it)
- 50 g Apple Sauce
- 3/4 tsp of lemon juice
- 1 jar of Sweet Gluten Free or Vegan Mince Meat
- 2 tbps of Caster or Granulated Sugar
- 2 tbsp of Soya Milk
- Add Flour , Baking Powder, Xanthan ( if using ) in a bowl with a whisk until Incorporated in Stand Mixer Bowl
- Cut Butter into even pieces and toss in flour
- Place mix in stand mixer ON LOW setting until it looks like breadcrumbs as shown in the picture . Stir with a spoon or spatula to break any large clumps at the bottom of the bowl
- Weight out the apple sauce and add to the breadcrumb mix
- Juice the lemon and add to the breadcrumb mix……3/4 tsp
- Mix on low until the dough starts to come together and looks like this
- Set Oven at 160 C fan / 180 C / 360 F
- Turn dough out onto a sheet of clingfilm, big enough to wrap the dough
- Wrap Dough. Push the dough it into a disc and place in fridge for one hour
- Take out of fridge unwrap and place onto a lightly floured piece of parchment , cut into 2/3rd , take a piece of cling film and place over the top ready to roll the dough
- Roll out using a rolling pin to 3mm thick
- Choose appropriate sizes cutters for your pan as seen in the picture one needs to be slightly bigger, You need the bigger one even if you are topping with a decorative topping.
- Cut out you desired larger discs, left over scraps can be brought back together and re rolled
- Place the discs in the tray and press down gently, if they crack just press the dough back together to smooth the disc back…..dont worry they will be fine you pastry is just a little to cold or too thick
- Fill with a heaped teaspoon of mincemeat
- Roll out the smaller piece of dough and top the way of your choice
- If making full pies dampen the edge with water
- Place the lid on the top and press down gently and cut two slits, brush on some soya milk and sprinkle with sugar
- Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes til golden brown
About the baker
Clare Smith is an Intolerance home baker. Many moons ago, before gluten intolerance became a lifestyle choice for some, Clare was diagnosed a severe allergy to gluten. She was then diagnosed with Lupus and life had to change. Clare has dedicated her blog and baking to making usre that intolerance doesn't mean missing out on a cake-fix, and that hey can be just as delicious. As is clear with this recipe, there's no reason to let your lifestyle stop you from enjoying your favorite Christmassy treats.
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