Mince Pies with Clementine and Brandy. Traditional English style pastry tarts for Christmas with a fruit and spice filling that’s favoured with clementines and brandy.
Mince Pies are practically a British institution. This favourite Holiday pastry simply cannot be done without, during the festive season. It just wouldn’t be Christmas without them.
Mince Pies or Mincemeat Pies have nothing to do with meat… or at least they don’t anymore. These little pastries are filled with a fruit and spice filling but at one time meat might be added basically as a status symbol, showing that you could afford to put meat in them.
As far back as Medieval times, reference can be found to pies made with a combination of fruit and meat filling. Meat pies of course, are very traditional in the UK, but the term “pie” as used there is often confusing to North Americans.
In North America, a pie is a full size pastry to be cut in slices but in the UK, individual servings of hand held pastries are almost always called “pies”. In North America we would be much more likely to call these Mince Tarts.
No matter what you can them these incredibly flavourful little pastries are the epitome of christmas flavours. The intense filling flavour comes from a combination of dried and fresh fruits, plenty of Christmas spices, a punch of citrus from seasonal Holiday clementines, and finished with an addition of brandy.
What could be more Christmas than that?
This year, because the filling is so flavourful, I also made some mini turnovers using the same filling and pastry. A couple of batches of those would also make ideal Christmas food gifts too!
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- 1 1/4 cups raisins chopped
- 1 cup dried dates finely chopped
- 2 apples peeled and grated
- zest of 2 clementines finely minced
- juice of four clementines
- 1 1/2 cups apple juice
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1/2 cup brandy to add when the mincemeat is cooled
To prepare the mincemeat filling
Peel 2 of the clementines and then scrape as much of the white pith as you can from the inside, using a small paring knife. Finely chop the clementine zest.
Add it to a medium sized saucepan over low heat along with all of the other ingredients EXCEPT the brandy.
Simmer very slowly until the mixture forms a thick jammy paste, stirring often. About 20-25 minutes.
Allow the mixture to cool completely to room temperature before stirring in the brandy.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use. This can be made a couple of weeks in advance at least or much longer if you put it in mason jars and can it properly. Refer to the jar manufacturers instructions.
The pastry for this recipe is the same one I use for my Butter Tarts recipe. I cut them out exactly the same as butter tarts but also cut out rounds that are just a little larger than the tops of the muffin tins.
I then fill the pastry shells, top with the small circle of dough, pinch the edges and cut a small cross in the centre with the tip of a sharp knife.
Bake at 375 degrees F for about 25 -30 minutes util light golden brown.
Cool completely on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container. These Mince Pies can also be frozen when baked.
Notes: For the pastry recipe click here.
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