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Apricot, date, fig and pistachio mince pies

By December 03, 2021 , ,

I came up with this recipe as my other half and I aren't huge fans of the traditional mince pie mix. We're not fans of raisins or sultanas or "dead flies" as I like to call them. I like the idea of a festive pie and it's nice to have a sweet treat at Christmas. The mincemeat in question is not made with meat but with dried fruits and spices and beef or vegetable suet. In the past it used to be made with meat as well as dried fruits and spices such as mutton, veal, goose or venison. In the UK and Ireland where they are most popular its just a fruit based pie. 
Though there are versions in the US called New England mince meat pies which are made with dried fruits, spices and beef and is a large pie as opposed to the traditional smaller versions. Ideally the filling needs to be made about two weeks in advance of baking as it allows the flavours to develop further. I like to use a mix of Pedro Ximinez for it's rich sweetness and bourbon which has a subtle spice and compliments the citrus element. Instead of a  straightforward sweet short crust pastry I also use almond flour which adds a wonderful depth of flavour to the pies. This makes 12 mince pies. 
50g dried apricots finely chopped
50g dates finely chopped
50g Dried figs finely chopped
1 apple peeled, cored and grated
30g beef or vegetable suet (optional)
50g pistachios finely chopped
Zest of one clementine or mandarin
40ml Pedro Ximenez sherry
30ml bourbon
2g cinnamon
2g ground ginger
Pinch salt

Mix all ingredients together and place in a sterilised jar with a lid
Or you can place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until combined
This can now be kept in a cupboard for a couple of weeks to let the flavours mature

80g plain flour
30g almond flour
90g butter
10g icing sugar
1 egg yolk
50ml milk for brushing the pastry

Place all ingredients in a food processor except the egg yolk and pulse a few times
Add the yolk and continue to pulse until the pastry starts to come together, don't pulse too much as you don't want the oils to come out of the almond flour
Form the pastry into a flat round, cover and place in the fridge to rest for 1 hour

To assemble the pies
Preheat your oven to 180c (fan), 190c (normal), barbecue set up for indirect cooking at 180c
Roll the pastry to 2mm thickness
Using a 10cm pastry cutter, cut out 12 rounds
Place the rounds into a muffin tin, ensuring there are no air gaps
Using a star shaped cutter, cut out 12 pieces for the top, re-roll out the pastry if necessary to ensure you have enough for the top
Fill the tarts with the mincemeat mix and then top with the star pastry
Brush the pastry tops with the milk
Bake for  20-25 minutes

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