Little, flaky pastry cups filled with the most delicious mince pie filling I can imagine, Molly Weasley’s Christmas present to Harry, she definitively knows how to make people happy.
Secret Recipe Club time again, but sadly for the last time. After this reveal day the SRC is no more. I am really sorry about it, I really enjoyed learning so many blogs through the club, being assigned one every month, searching for a recipe suiting my own particular theme at the moment of the reveal, waiting to see what other people chose to cook from my blog and then all the nice people one gets to know through this club…
My assignment blog this month is My Whole Food Family. My first thought after receiving the assignment was that Sarah must have made a mistake, surely I had this blog already. But then after looking through my list I realized that I hadn’t been assigned the blog before. It is just that I’ve discovered the blog a while ago and spent so much time perusing its recipes without actually looking for something particular for SRC, that I really thought I had been through it already.
My second thought was that it is so great that Susan, the writer of My Whole Food Family, is Australian. I knew that the chances of me finding a suitable recipe for my Harry Potter theme this week was greater than when searching on an American blog. Harry Potter’s recipes are all English and I find the Australian way of cooking to have much more in common with England than the American way of cooking. I might be mistaken there, I am not an expert, but it is the way I feel about it. And in the case of Susan’s blog I wasn’t mistaken, there were indeed other recipes that would have fitted my theme perfectly, recipes like this Christmas Cake or this Steak Guinness and Cheese Pie.
And then I just love her Thermomix recipes. I have a Thermomix myself and I love it dearly and I would like to try some of Susan’s TMX recipes. This Hazelnut Chocolate Ganache Tart looks too good to be true and so easy to make , these Spelt Cranberry and Oat Cookies sound delicious and this Curry Tuna Mornay for pasta it is something I could imagine having for lunch today.
But in the end I chose to make Susan’s Fruit Mince Tarts and I am so glad I did, they are the first mince pies I have ever made and at the moment I don’t even think about ever trying out another recipe for making mince pies, I found these to be perfect. I had to change the recipe for the pastry though, not because I didn’t want to make them with spelt flour, I am sure I would like that too, but because I made these pies on the same day I made Harry Potter Pumpkin Pasties (like I mentioned in that post already, the recipe for this pastry comes from Serious Eats), so I preferred to make a larger batch of one sort of pastry instead of two different ones. But the filling is 100% Susan’s filling and it was so good (and so much of it) that one week later I baked the pies again (with leftover pastry that I still had in my freezer). And by the way the filling also freezes well, I made only half of the batch that Susan’s recommends in her recipe and it was enough for 24 minced pies.
One thing I can say for sure, this was a great way of closing with the Secret Recipe Club, this is one of the best recipes I have made during these months that I spent being in the club. I am sure I will make this recipe every winter for many years to come, my whole family and all the friends that got to taste the mince pies absolutely loved them, although they are something so much out of the ordinary for us, mince pies are completely unknown in Germany and I cannot even think of anything similar to them that we have here for the Christmas time, German Christmas bakery is thoroughly different.
- For the pastry (the leftovers freeze very well):
- 350 g/ 12.5 oz/ 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoon sugar (leave out when you want to make a savory pie or pastry)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 280 g/ 10 oz/ 2 ½ sticks butter (European style butter is best, it has less water)
- 5-6 tablespoons very cold water
- For the mince pie filling (enough for 24 pies):
- 125 g/ 4.4 oz mixed dried fruits (I used raisins, cranberries and apricots)
- 2 small apples (Granny Smith)
- 60 ml/ ¼ cup fresh orange juice
- 30 ml/1/8 cup rice malt syrup
- 1 tablespoon brandy
- a pinch of orange zest
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- a pinch of nutmeg
- a pinch of ground cloves
- a pinch of allspice
- For finishing:
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons milk
- To make the pastry cut the butter into small cubes, place them in one layer on a plate and put them in the freezer for about 15 minutes, they should not be frozen but get really cold.
- In the meantime place ⅔ of the flour, sugar and salt in the food processor. Mix well.
- Add the butter cubes and process shortly, about 25 short pulses or about 25 seconds with the Thermomix on level 4. The dough should just begin to clump. Sprinkle the remaining flour on top and pulse about 3-4 times or about 10 seconds on Thermomix on level 4 or until the dough is just barely broken.
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Sprinkle with 5 tablespoons of the very cold water and incorporate using a rubber spatula (make sure is a good one, I broke one of mine in the process, but it was a very old one). Fold and press the dough until it comes together. Add the last tablespoon of water if necessary, sometimes I do add it, sometimes not, it depends on how exactly you weigh the flour and sometimes on the brand of flour itself. The dough should hold together when you press a little bit of it between your fingers. Form a ball, divide it into four parts, press each portion into a disc and wrap the discs tightly in plastic foil. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Start making the filling immediately after making the pastry, as the filling needs to get cold before being used.
- To make the filling, chop the dried fruit if necessary (I chopped the apricots). Peel, core and dice the apples. Place the dried fruits, apples, orange juice, rice malt syrup, brandy, orange zest and spices in a small pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil, turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15-20 minutes until the apple pieces are soft and the mixture is thick and sticky. Set aside and leave to cool completely.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease two muffin trays.
- You will need a round cutter or a glass of about 6 cm/ 2.3 inch diameter or just a little bit larger than the diameter of your muffin cup. You will also need another round cutter or glass of about 5 cm/ 1.9 inch diameter, if you want to cover your mince pies completely. I preferred to cut flowers and place them on top of the filling, but the choice is yours.
- Take about ⅔ of the dough and place the rest in the fridge again. Roll the dough in at least two batches, about 3mm/ 0.10 inches. Cut 24 circles of the dough using the larger cutter/ glass. Press the circles over the base of the tray. Place 1 teaspoon filling into each cup and spread evenly. If you are closing the pies, roll the dough from the fridge and cut another 24 circles with the smaller cutter/glass. Dab some water around the edges of the pastry in the tray and place the smaller circles on top of each tart. Crimp and seal the edges with a fork. Cut a slit or two on top of each pie to allow the steam to escape.
- If you are only placing flowers or stars on top of the mince pies, things get a bit easier. Roll the scraps leftover from the circles and cut flowers or stars with an appropriate cutter. Place them on top of each pie. You will probably not need the leftover dough in the fridge if you only cut flowers/stars, so wrap it tightly and freeze it for future use. Or roll it together with the last of the scraps, cut into squares, sprinkle the squares with some cinnamon sugar and bake some biscuits
- Mix the egg yolk and the milk and brush the pastry with the mixture. Bake the pies in the hot oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Leave to cool in the tray for about 5-10 minutes before turning them on a wire rack.
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