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Winter 2019Filo pastry mince pies recipe

By Natasha Brown, owner of Brown’s Cakes

These mince pies with a twist are exceptional, they taste nothing like shop bought ones and are incredibly moreish.

In addition to the ingredients listed below, you will need a packet of filo pastry which is best brought out of the fridge an hour beforehand to let it get to room temperature.

Start by making your own mincemeat. It’s a lot easier than you’d think and this recipe doesn’t include any suet; it’s just packed full of fruit.

You will need:

90g dried cranberries
90g sultanas
90g currants
90g raisins
1 apple
50g flaked almonds
75g butter
110g light brown sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp mixed spice
Grated rind and juice of half a lemon
100ml Amaretto

Peel and chop the apple and toss it in a large pan with all the other ingredients (except the Amaretto). Simmer gently over a low heat for 10 – 15 minutes.

Leave to cool then stir in the Amaretto (other alcohol can be used such as brandy, port or sherry but I love the almond flavour of the Amaretto).

Mince Pies
To make the mince pies you will need a sponge mixture:

125g self raising flour
125g Stork margarine
125g caster sugar
2 eggs
1tsp vanilla extract

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and beat them together until nice and smooth.

Now cut the filo pastry into pieces, approximately 10-15 cm square (or cut each sheet into eight equal pieces).

Brush one side of a pastry square with melted butter (put a little butter in a bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds to melt it).

Brandy Butter
Brandy butter goes perfectly with these mince pies. You will need soft butter, so make sure you get the butter out of the fridge a few hours before you start to make the brandy butter.

125g soft butter
125g icing sugar
45ml brandy

Beat the butter and icing sugar together until smooth. The more you beat it, the fluffier it will become.

Add the brandy and beat again. Check for taste and add more brandy if desired.

Lay a second square of filo pastry over the first diagonally so that you’re making a star shape.

Brush this with melted butter too. Lift the filo pastry and gently push it into a muffin tin so that the edges stick up out of the hole. Make another 11 of these so you have a tray full.

Spoon a generous teaspoon of mincemeat into the bottom of each pastry cup then add a dessert spoon full of sponge mixture over the mincemeat.

Bake the mince pies at 180°C for around 15 minutes until the sponge has cooked and when you press it gently the top springs back.

Dust the mince pies with a little icing sugar and serve as soon as they’re cool enough to eat. Be careful you don’t burn your mouth on the mincemeat in your haste to eat them!

You will have enough mincemeat to make at least 24 mince pies (possibly more). If you do have some left over, sterilise a jar and store the mincemeat in there until you’re ready to make some more.

There are some people in my family who don’t like dried fruit (don’t ask me why). For these I use the same technique but substitute jam for the mincemeat. These are delightful too, but for me, you just can’t beat a mince pie at Christmas.