A spicy Christmas

transform into [Recipe 2] FRUIT MINCE CRUMBLE SLICE
Nothing beats a plate of slightly wonky, buttery home-made Fruit mince pies with orange and cranberries. Making fruit mince is surprisingly easy. My recipe contains no suet (shudder) and no alcohol; just lashings of dried fruit with a hint of orange zest, soaked in orange juice and spices. Yum.
Half the fruit mince is reserved as planned-overs (look for the orange diamonds) for recipe 2, my moreish Fruit mince crumble slice; which, if you have good self-control, you can put in the freezer for the kid’s lunchboxes in January!

Cranberry Christmas mince tarts

[Recipe 1] Fruit mince pies with orange and cranberries

Ingredients (makes 36 little pies, plus extra mince for Recipe 2):
½ cup (85g) craisins (sweetened dried cranberries)
2 cups (300g) raisins, chopped
1 cup (150g) sultanas (golden raisins)
1 cup (150g) pitted prunes, chopped
2 large green Granny Smith apples, peeled, grated
½ cup (100g) firmly-packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon orange zest, finely chopped (1 large orange)
½ cup (125ml) orange juice
1 quantity sweet shortcrust pastry
1 egg, whisked with 1 tablespoon milk, for brushing pastry
Icing sugar, to dust

Combine the craisins, raisins, sultanas, prunes, apple, brown sugar, spices, zest and juice in a bowl. Set aside, covered, in the fridge for at least 2 days (or up to one week) for flavours to develop. Stir once a day.
Remove 1½ cups of the fruit mince and blend until smooth, with a stick blender or food processor. Return to the bowl, and mix thoroughly into the fruit mince.
♦ Reserve half the fruit mince (1½ cups – about 450g/just under 1 lb) for the fruit mince crumble slice.
Preheat oven to 180°C (350ºF).
Roll out the shortcrust pastry between 2 sheets of baking paper until 3mm (⅛-inch) thick thick. Use a round 7cm (2¾-inch) diameter pastry cutter to cut 36 discs from the pastry. Lightly oil 3 x 12-hole shallow, round-based patty pans. Line the 36 patty pans with the pastry circles. Prick the bases with a fork. Bake for 8 minutes, until dry.
Re-roll leftover pastry between 2 sheets of baking paper until 2–3mm (⅛-inch) thick. Use a star-shaped 5cm (2-inch) diameter pastry cutter to cut 36 stars from the pastry. Spoon 1–2 heaped teaspoons of fruit mince into each pastry case. Top with pastry stars. Brush with egg wash. Bake for a further 12 minutes. Cool on wire racks. Dust with icing sugar to serve.

  • Fruit mince can be stored for up to one month in the fridge.
  • Fruit mince tarts can be frozen for up to 3 months, layered between sheets of baking paper in an airtight container. Thaw overnight at room temperature. Make and freeze them in October and be well-prepared for Christmas!
If you run out of fruit mince filling, and are facing a few empty pastry shells, make little jam tarts. Simply spoon chunky jam into the empty pastry shells and top with pastry circles.

Christmas mince slice

[Recipe 2] Fruit mince crumble slice

Ingredients (makes 24 squares):
Oat base:

250 grams (8 oz/2 sticks) butter, melted
¾ cup (150g) firmly-packed brown sugar
2 cups (300g) plain flour
1 cup (100g) rolled oats
1½ cups (about 450g/just under 1 lb) reserved fruit mince
Crumble topping:
⅔ cups (185g) reserved oat base mixture (explained below)
¾ cup (75g) desiccated coconut
½ cup (70g) sunflower kernels, lightly crushed in mortar/pestle
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 180°C (350ºF).
Make the oat base by placing the butter and brown sugar in a large bowl. Stir to combine. Add the flour and rolled oats and mix well.
Reserve ⅔ cups (185g) oat base mixture for the crumble topping.
Press the oat base mixture firmly into a lined 23cm (9-inch) x 33cm (13-inch) slice tin. Bake for 15–20 minutes, or until light golden. Allow to cool slightly.
Spread the reserved fruit mince over the base.
To make the crumble topping, stir the coconut, egg and sunflower kernels into the reserved oat base mixture. Scatter the crumble topping over the fruit mince. Bake for 20–25 minutes, or until golden. Cool in the tin.
Cut into squares, and store in the fridge.

  • Fruit mince crumble slice can be frozen for up to 3 months. Layer squares between sheets of baking paper in an airtight container. Thaw overnight at room temperature.
  • My boys love this slice for morning tea at school, and using sunflower kernels keeps the slice nut-free (our school has a no-nuts policy); whilst adding nutty flavour and texture. Sunflower seeds rock as they’re packed with protein, fibre and vitamin E.

6 thoughts on “A spicy Christmas

  1. Just wanted to thank you for the recipe. We gave these a go for Christmas and they were spectacular. BEST mince pies ever – light and tasty with gorgeous pastry. Absolutely on the list for next Christmas. Thank you. 🙂

  2. Cinnamon, cloves, allspice, orange zest: classic combination with dried fruit. I haven’t thought of mince pies in years and now you have reminded me how good they were.

    As a newlywed way back then, I didn’t know that mince pies were made with suet in the very olden days! That reminds me to get some suet; the titmouse, chickadee, and woodpecker population really loves that and my feeder is empty!

    • Ace. Hope you’ll love them! I popped the slice in the freezer but it has nearly all gone (it went very well with champagne at my Stitch & Bitch night). The pies are still tucked in the freezer, waiting for Christmas Day…

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