As I am writing this I am sitting in the car on my way to Austria where my family and I will spend the christmas holidays. I have to say the view is quite concerning. What normally is a jolly drive towards snow covered alps that ups the excitement to finally start the ski season is now replaced by the sober view of grass, green bushes and the grey asphalt of the highway. There's no snow in sight yet and judging by the car's temperature indicator, there won't be any snow coming soon. In fact, the weather forecast for the next week predicts constant sun between 9 to 11 degrees celsius. There goes the dream of a white christmas...
I find it a shame because to me one of the best things about christmas is cozying up with a blanket and a cup of almond milk hot chocolate by the fire with people I love. Give me a good book to read on top of that and I'm one happy person.
Since we can't expect any christmas-y vibes from mother nature, I have made it my mission to create as many christmas-inspired dishes as possible. I realise that most of you have already finished your holiday baking, but I think it's never too late for a good ol' mince meat pie recipe.
Unlike the name suggests, this pie doesn't contain any meat. Duh...It's just dried fruit, orange, sugar, butter and some spices cooked into a tasteful gooey texture that's then stuffed into a pastry to create mini pies. They are perfect for the holiday table or to bring to christmas get-togethers as they are small and pretty handy.
The filling can be made days in advance and stored in the fridge. This step is actually recommended by some to enhance the flavour, but if you are a last minute christmas baking person like me, don't sweat it. I'm sure it tastes just as good, thought I have never done a taste comparison.
Traditional fillings consist of a bunch of different dried fruits and candied ingredients such as candied ginger, candied citrus peel and candied cherries. But we (as in Vic and I, because let's face it, we don't cook anything fancy without each other anymore these days) chose to skip all the candied stuff simply to avoid the excess sugar and unpronounceable ingredients that come with processed store-bought goods. Feel free to add them though if you fancy them! Either way the filling will turn out great, I am certain of that.
On that note, I wish you all a merry christmas and great holidays with your family and friends! I hope you can enjoy some downtime spent with loved ones, and lots of delicious food!
Vegan Mince Meat Pies
½ cup raisins
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup dried figs
½ orange (zest and juice)
2 tbsp maple syrup
½ apple, grated
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cloves
4 star anis
2 vanilla pods, insides scraped out
¾ cup gluten-free flour mix
½ cup coconut oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
¼ tsp salt
3 tbsp ice water
- Zest and juice the half an orange.
- Add all the other ingredients for the mincemeat in a pot over low heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Remove vanilla pods and star anise and let the whole thing cool.
- Pre-heat the oven to 200 °C.
- Put all the ingredients for the crust in a food processor except for the water and blend.
- Add the water a blend until mixture is crumbly.
- Take mixture out of the blender and roll out onto a floured surface.
- Cut circles slightly bigger than your muffin cups.
- Put crust into the muffin cups and press down and on the sides.
- Keep any left over crust dough.
- Put a big tbsp of mincemeat into the pies.
- Use the remaining dough to either cut up strips and place in “pie-like” criss-cross, or into stars.
- Put in the oven for about 15 minutes or until golden.
- Remove and let cool before eating.