These mince pies are vegetarian and can also be alcohol free by substituting whisky for orange juice. I used yellow/orange ingredients to keep the mincemeat light in colour. I also decided to use quinces instead of the traditional apples. Even thinly sliced, quince keeps its texture and still absorbs the juices and the whisky. Since quince pieces don’t melt away like apple would, I also added chestnut to help the ingredients to stick together.
This mincemeat is very fragrant and can absorb all the juice and whisky within days, which makes it very easy to prepare at the last minutes before Christmas. Only make sure to mix it every day. If using orange juice, the mincemeat must be stored in the fridge and used within days, contrary to the whiskey version which can be kept for months.
I have used the cheapest single malt whisky I could find on my husband’s whisky shelf (shhhh, don’t tell him), but you can of course substitute it for a cheaper blend, or even rum.
Quince Mince Pies
For 50 pies
Ingredients for the Mincemeat
- 400g quince, peeled and thinly sliced
- 200g chopped boiled chestnuts
- 250g dried apricot, sliced
- 150g candied mandarines, sliced (or mixed peel)
- 200g raisins
- 250g sultanas
- 70g dark muscovado sugar
- 70 caster sugar
- juice of 2 oranges
- zest of 1 orange
- zest of 1 lemon
- 150ml whisky
- 1tsp cinnamon
- 1tsp ground ginger
- 1tsp nutmeg
The preparation of the mincemeat is very easy. Mix it all together and mix everyday to make sure the juice and whisky are evenly absorbed by the fruits.
Ingredients for the pastry for 25 pies
(to use all the mince meat)
- 750g plain flour
- 525g unsalted butter
- 250g caster sugar
- 2 large eggs, 1 egg beaten to glaze
- Round pastry cutter of 9cm and 7cm
Mixed the flour and butter together to form crumbs. Add the eggs and sugar and mix together until it forms a ball. Do not handle the pastry too long, cover with cling film and place in the fridge for 1 hour. Roll the pastry out thinly (3mm) and cut 24 bases with the 9cm cutter. Re-form a ball and roll again to cut 24 tops with the 7cm cutter. Cutting strips of pastry to make a lattice top also creates a very Christmassy finish. Add flour to both sides of each circle of pastry and place in the airtight container in the fridge for 30 minutes or until needed.
When all the components are ready and the oven is at 200C fan, start to build the mince pies. Place the bases in a muffin tray and fill with mincemeat to the top. With a pastry brush, glaze the edge of the base and place the lid on top. Seal the top to the base with your fingers and brush the top with more egg glaze. With scissors, snip the middle of the pies to let the steam off and bake for 15 minutes until golden. Leave for 15minutes before transferring the pies to a cooling rack. Eat warm with double cream, delicious!!!!
No soggy bottom!