These came about by accident, but one I have intentionally repeated a few times this season as they we loved the twist so much!
To begin with, the mincemeat, based upon Hettie Potter’s recipe included by Nigella in How to be a Domestic Goddess, but using pears instead of apples for a lighter taste (and because we had quite a few pears in the house). Then comes the pastry, which for these pies used some spare gingerbread dough which was resting in the fridge. These are light and delicious if I may say so myself, enough of a nod to traditional mince pies but with a twist that still keeps them festive.
- 250g soft dark sugar
- 250ml pear cider
- 1kg pears
- 1/2 tsp mixed spice
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 250g currants
- 250g raisins
- 75g glace cherries
- 75g flaked almonds
- rind and juice of a satsuma
- 6 tbsp vodka (I didn’t have any brandy or rum to hand).
- Core and chop the pears.
- Add sugar and cider to a large saucepan and gently heat until dissolved.
- Add the pears, followed by all other ingredients except the vodka.
- Simmer for 30 minutes (soaking in that aroma – a perfectly advent thing to do).
- Remove from heat and leave to cool just a little before adding the vodka.
- Spoon into sterilised jars and seal.
Jars straight from the dishwasher are perfectly sterilised, or popping in the microwave for a few moments with an inch of boiled water also seems to do the trick.
Now for the ‘pastry’. The ginger bread recipe is the same as I used for Follow the Star Gingerbread Cookies. Once you have a batch of dough prepared you can keep it in the fridge and easily throw together some fresh mince pies for visitors, after school snack, or as a hostess gift.
Assembling mince pies is child’s play which makes it a great family activity, something to occupy the children, or an exercise in mindfulness for yourself. Choose your cutters, and baking trays and play with design. I found some gingerbread sprinkles and was able to add these to mine with a little icing sugar and lemon juice acting as glue.