Alternative to mince pies. Enter the alternative mince pie. It’s apples mixed with a hint of cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg. Add to that some caramelized toasted pecans and a handful of cranberries, wrapped in an all butter short crust pastry and bob’s your uncle. They are so delicious fresh out oven and warm, but they’re also great cold – maybe even with a drizzle of brandy butter? I used a snowflake cutter for the top but of course you could you use any shape you like, or go for a more traditional circular top.
It’s all a complete doddle with the Kenwood Chef Titanium food processor attachment – had them done in no time! Even the pastry was simple (and I’m not the greatest at pastry!)
First we pulse the butter and flour together in the food processor until it looks like breadcrumbs. Then add the cold water and process until the mixture comes together in a dough ball. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge.
Soak the cranberries in some hot water. Toast the pecans, then empty the pan. Make caramel and then coat the pecans in the caramel…try not to eat them. I didn’t test them at all. Nope, not me…
Peel, quarter and core the apple and place in the food processor. Add the caramelised pecans. Pulse.
Stir in the spices, strained cranberries, sugar and lemon juice.
Roll out the pastry and cut out the bases. Fill with a spoonful of mixture and place a pastry top on. Wash with egg milk wash then bake for 20-25 minutes until golden.
Sprinkle with icing sugar if you like…
Makes 18 mince pies
N.B. Pastry recipe from Peyton & Byrne
FOR THE PASTRY
- 220g plain flour
- 100g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 3tbsp cold water
FOR THE FILLING
- 2 cooking apples
- 30g cranberries
- 60g pecans
- 40g + 3tbsp golden caster sugar
- 1tbsp lemon juice
- ½tsp ground cinnamon
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 1 beaten egg + a splash of milk for a wash
- Place the flour and butter in the Kenwood Chef Titanium food processor attachment. Pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Then add the cold water and blend until the mixture forms a dough ball. Wrap it up in cling film, and chill it in the fridge for at least half an hour. Wash out the food processor bowl.
- Whilst the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5. Grease 2 bun trays. Place the cranberries in a ramekin and pour over some boiling water to soften them.
- Toast the pecans over a medium heat for a few minutes then place on a plate. In the same pan, take the 3tbsp of golden caster sugar and spread out over the pan. The sugar will caramelise – do not stir, do not turn up the heat! Wait until nearly all the sugar crystals have gone then tip the pan gently to swirl the caramel around. TOss the pecans in the caramel to cover. Tip back onto the plate and allow to cool.
- Peel the apples, slice into 4 and remove the core. If the pecans are stuck together, break into a few pieces and place all of this in the food processor. Pulse until it’s blended – I made mine quite fine but it’s really up to you if you like it more chunky!
- Drain the cranberries.
- Remove the blade then stir in the remaining sugar, cranberries, lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Roll out the pastry and cut out 18 circles a bit larger than the holes of your bun tray. Cut out 18 tops with your cutter.
- Place the large circles in each of the tray holes, then spoon about a teaspoonful of filling into each and top with the final pastry piece. Brush with the egg milk wash.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until the tops are golden. Cool on a wire rack.