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In our house, when I make or buy things and put them in the fridge, there is usually a reason for it and it usually means D can’t have it (well just not yet that is). D looks in the fridge or at the baked goodies and looks at me and asks sheepishly ‘Can I have this?’. This time was no different. The answer is usually ‘don’t be silly, of course you can eat it’, but this isn’t always the case and I feel for D as he tries to decide whether to ask or just not bother and find something else to munch on. I have taken to telling him when something is for a particular dinner or gift, but he still worries whether or not I will get upset. And he shouldn’t have to, so I now usually double my recipes and make some for him and some for the dinner, gift or our work offerings.

I hate mince pies! I know that may be a bit harsh and some of you are probably already deleting me from your Christmas card list but I loath traditional mince pies. Every year my mother makes her and my sister mince pies, and every year I try one but end up just eating a whole load of pastry and dismissing the rest. I don’t know what it is but I just can’t eat them. This year, I want one (or several)… I want to be like everyone else. So I decided that I would make ones that I like (don’t worry sis, mum is still making hers). So I had a little peek in my fridge and came up with my alternative mince pie. Most of these were for us to munch on and enjoy the Christmas season, the rest are in the freezer awaiting the big day.

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RASPBERRY, APPLE AND CRANBERRY MINCE PIES

The hardest part about these was the pastry. They smell so good and are great eaten with a hot port sitting beside the fire. Get these made now and then freeze them, and when needed take as many as required out, leave to defrost and then heat. Now usually I make my own pastry but given the season and the long list of to do items, I cheated and just bought it.

  • 500 g shortcrust pastry
  • 200 g raspberries (if you only have frozen, they will do just fine)
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored and grated
  • 75 g dried cranberries
  • 50 g light muscovado sugar
  • 25 g flaked almonds
  • 25 g ground almonds
  • 2 tbsp grated coconut (optional)
  • 3 tbsp grand marnier
  • 1/2 tsp ground mixed spice or just cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 1 egg, beaten, to glaze
  • icing sugar to dust

THE HOW

Pre heat the oven to 190°C  (170°C fan) gas mark 5.

Place the dried cranberries in a bowl with the grand marnier and leave to soak for 5-10 minutes.

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Meanwhile put the raspberries and sugar into a pan and heat gently on a low heat to melt the sugar, about 3 minutes. Once sugar is pretty much melted and the raspberries are softened, take off the heat and stir in the cranberries and grand marnier. Then add the apples and mix, then add in all the rest. Give it a good mix.

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Next roll out the base pastry, I use 2/3 for the base and 1/3 for the top. Now I roll mine out a little thicker as I love pastry but you can make it as thin as you like, optimum thickness is usually 3 mm. Grab a cookie cutter that is slightly bigger than the diameter of your bun tin rounds, standard 3 inch cutter should do.

Use these to line your 12 hole bun tin. If your pastry doesn’t quite fit the bun holes, then you can roll it a little bigger and replace into the tin. Use some of the beaten egg to wet the edges of the pastry bases. Fill the pastry cases with a tbsp of your raspberry and apple mix.

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Roll out the top pastry layer and cut with the cookie cutter, I use a slightly smaller cutter for this. Place over the filled cases and press down the edges. Crimp, or use a fork to seal. Then brush the tops with egg and score the pastry in the center to let the air out.

Pop into the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden. Leave to cool. Dust with icing sugar.

Happy munching!

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UPDATE: As I wrote this, one of those special not to be eaten items disappeared from the fridge, guess who ate it ?

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