Move over Mr Kipling because these are gonna knock your socks off! The only problem with these is actually that they taste too good haha – so it’s easy to eat too many of them (good job they are healthy).
Sweet mince pies are traditional pies of British origin, dating back through the centuries. Nobody quite knows how it got to be the pie it is today. All I know is that I love the taste of them, so I decided (of course) to make a ‘conscious Kitchen’ version of them using gluten-free pastry and super healthy sweet mincemeat filling.
My version is a melt-in-the-mouth, healthy and delicious pastry that everyone loves (I keep testing them out on everyone who comes to my house and no matter what people normally eat, they are giving these a big thumbs up). In this recipe I am using warming winter spices like ginger, cinnamon and cardamom to infuse the dried fruit with divine deliciousness – add in lemon and lemon rind and we are talking heaven in a pie!
These work perfectly every time for me, although I have noticed that some people find GF pastry making a little challenging.
My main advice for that is to throw all ideas of making wheat-based pastry out of the window. Out, out, out with old concepts. Gluten-free pastry does not work in the same way as conventional pastry. You need to be more mindful, present and treat it with the deepest respect. If you do then, oh my goodness, it will reward you a hundredfold.
I created a little video (for jam tarts) recently and here are some snapshots from that video, to give you a visual guide on how best to make this.
First of all, you mix all the ingredients together, until it all comes together like a dough. Then you will need to sprinkle a little rice flour on your rolling surface (stops it sticking) and a little sprinkle on top of the dough…
Then you need to roll it out. Use a rolling pin for this (a large round sided glass jar might work too). Keep turning it after you roll to make sure it is rolled out evenly (add more sprinkles of rice flour if it gets sticky)…
Use a metal spatula or cake slice to get underneath, if it starts getting too difficult to turn. It might get a bit fragile at this stage, in which case you can just squeeze any broken bits right back into the dough.
Use a cookie cutter or the open top of a glass to cut your shapes out. Scoop up with the metal spatula and pop them in your baking tray wells ready for the sweet mincemeat…
I hope that helps give you a bit of a helpful visual guide.
You need to bake them for about 20 minutes. If they tan too much then it means that they are overbaked, and they won’t taste so good. So keep your eye on them. They are not meant to be super tanned like wheat pastry (remember: chuck out old ideas of baking and these will work to perfection).
Gluten-free pastry can be a little crumbly when hot, so it is important that you let them cool down properly before eating them. They should firm up nicely upon cooling. They will also keep for a few days in the fridge.
Share them with family and friends. If you don’t have family and friends, then just share them with anyone, take them to a pot-luck, take them to work and you’ll soon make new friends.
Sweet mince pie filling
- 150g raisins (1 cup)
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest (loose)
- 1 lemon (medium sized)
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger (loosely grated)
Sweet mince pie pastry
- 100g rice flour
- 100g tapioca flour (or tapioca starch)
- 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
- 4 tablespoons coconut oil
- 4 tablespoons maple syrup
Making the vegan mincemeat filling
- Start by soaking the sweet mince in a bowl overnight (or for at least three hours).
- Grate about 1 teaspoon of lemon zest, using a fine grater.
- Juice the lemon.
- Mix all the sweet mince ingredients together and allow to soak. Mix in, several times during the soak period if you remember.
- Once soaked, the raisins will be plumper as it should have absorbed most of the soak liquid. Pulse the mixture with a hand blender a few times or use a regular jug blender - to create a rustic sweet mince 'mush'.
Making the mince pies
- Make sure the coconut oil is warm and melted.
- You will need a shallow cupcake tin with 12 cupcake indents.
- Mix all of the pastry ingredients together. Use a spoon at first and then work with your hands. If your kitchen is cold, then the coconut oil may solidify... in which case, the warmth of your hands will help to keep it soft and pliable. After a couple of minutes you should get a nice dough ball.
- Sprinkle rice flour on your rolling surface and sprinkle a little rice flour on top of your dough (this helps it to stop sticking to the surface or to the rolling pin).
- Roll the pasty with a rolling pin (or a large glass jar) and keep turning/rolling (which helps it roll evenly) until it is about 4mm thick. If the pastry starts falling slightly apart as it gets thinner, then just push it back together. I tend to use a super thin spatula or frying pan slice to slide under it and stop it sticking to the kitchen worktop at this stage.
- Cut out 12 circles with a cookie cutter (or the open end of a drinking glass works too).
- Gently push each circle into the cupcake tin indents.
- Roll the remaining pastry and cut out 12 stars with it.
- Share the sweet vegan mincemeat mix between each pie and spread it fairly evenly.
- Put a star on top of each pie.
- Bake in a preheated oven (gas mark 5/ 375F/ 180C) for about 20 minutes.
- Once baked, allow to cool and serve. They should keep for at least a good few days in the kitchen or in the fridge too.
TIP: If you have spare pastry just roll it out and bake along side the jam tarts and enjoy as a cookie!