When it comes to mince pies, for me, nothing beats home-made. Sure, my pies won’t be uniformly shaped and coloured like the factory-produced ones. And my stars are usually a little wonky. But hey, they taste REAL. Once you’ve tried home-made, I don’t think you’ll ever go back to shop-bought again.
If you’ve never baked your own mince pies before, you must give it a try. They’re incredibly easy to make. Even the pastry is a breeze.
The recipe I’m sharing today is for mini vegan mince pies. The size makes them perfect for serving with an ‘elevenses’ coffee or afternoon tea during the festive holidays. They’re small enough to not spoil your appetite, however, if you do fancy a second, you can tuck-in guilt-free as at least two minis is equivalent to one regular size pie.
For these pies, I used some of my favourite pantry ingredients which I ordered from the wholesale cooperative, Suma. In the UK, you’ll find these products stocked in independent health food stores. They’re also available to purchase from online health food stores and Amazon.
Lately, I’ve been loving organic coconut cooking butter for short-crust pastry-making. It gives the pastry the most wonderful crisp texture.
Here in the UK, Tiana coconut cooking butter is available to buy in health food shops and online. If you can’t get hold of it, the next best vegan alternative is a combination of dairy-free spread and non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening. This gives the same crisp texture as the coconut butter, however I do find that the pies don’t last as long before they dry out. The coconut butter version last a good 5 days; the dairy-free spread/vegetable shortening version about 3 days. If they do go a little dry over time, they can easily be revived by warming them through in the microwave/oven.
Organic white spelt flour and plain (all purpose) flour both work really well in this recipe, but sadly the gluten-free flour mix I tried didn’t work out. The pastry was crunchy and definitely not ‘pie like’.
For the filling, I used Meridian Organic Mince Pie filling. Unlike regular mince meats that contain huge amounts of added sugar, the Meridian one is sweetened with organic apple juice and has no added sugar. It has a wonderful flavour and you can really taste the quality of this product. I’ve already gone through two jars this week, and no doubt I’ll go through a few more before the season’s out.
Makes 12 mince pies (mini size)
175g / 1⅓ cups white spelt or plain (all purpose) flour
75g / scant ½ cup aroma-free coconut cooking butter (e.g. Tiana) (or substitute with 37g / 2½ TBSP dairy-free spread (e.g. Pure) and 39g / 3 TBSP non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening (e.g. Trex)
1-2 TBSP unrefined (golden) caster sugar
Pinch of salt
2½ – 3½ TBSP orange juice
12 tsp vegetarian mincemeat (I use Meridian)
Place the flour, coconut cooking butter (or dairy free spread & vegetable shortening), sugar and salt in a food processor. Whizz until combined. While the machine is running, add orange juice a little at a time until the mixture just starts to come together. (I find that I need about 3½ TBSP when using coconut butter, and 2½-3 TBSP when using dairy free spread & vegetable shortening). Scoop the mixture into a ball. Wrap in cling film (plastic wrap) and chill for 30 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 200C (180C fan) / 400F. Line a regular size muffin tray with cake cases.
Place the pastry on a lightly floured surface. Lay a sheet of cling film (plastic wrap) on top and roll the pastry to a thickness of no more than 0.5 cm / 0.2 inches. Stamp out circles using an 8cm / 3 inch round pastry cutter.
Place the pastry circle in a paper cake case and pop it into the muffin tray. Repeat until you have 12 cases. Fill each case with 1 level tsp of mince pie filling.
Thinly roll the leftover pastry and press out 12 small stars. Pop them on top of the pies. Brush the star and edges of the pie with soya milk. Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until the pastry is lightly golden. Leave to rest for a few minutes in the tray then transfer to a wire rack until completely cool.
Stored in an airtight container, pies made with coconut butter should keep for a good 5 days; those made with vegan spread/shortening will keep for about 3 days.
Products used in this recipe from Suma (available in the UK from independent health food stores)
Doves Farm Organic White Spelt Flour
Tiana Organic Coconut Cooking Butter (aroma-free)
Meridian Organic Mine Pie Filling