It’s a little unfathomable to me, but some folk don’t care a mince pie. Something about dried fruit just doesn’t do it for them. Personally, I think they’re crazy, but let’s be inclusive.
There are two ways to go about this recipe and either is perfectly acceptable, absolutely no judgement here. You can make your own pastry for the pie cases themselves, or like me in this case, you can buy ready made shortcrust pastry. As these are crumble topped pies you’ll find one pack of ready-rolled pastry will go further. I used a deep muffin tin and this recipe easily made ten pies.
A handful of these pies make an excellent addition to the Mulled Pomegranate Gin recipe I shared last week, though bake them fresh for the hamper if possible. They’ll keep in an airtight container for a good week. They can also be eaten heated through in the oven and served with brandy cream.
I’ve noticed vegan, or even a dairy-free option of Brandy Cream doesn’t seem to be about this year surprisingly. I made the cream shown here using dairy-free coconut yoghurt mixed with brandy and sifted icing sugar. Simple.
You will need:
1 x Pack pre-rolled Shortcrust Pastry (take it out of the fridge 15 minutes before using)
4 x Granny Smith Apples, pealed & chopped
40g Sultanas, optional
1/2tsp Ground Cinnamon
1tsp Ground Mixed Spice
50g Cold, Cubed Butter
100g Caster Sugar
100g Plain Flour
A dash of maple syrup, optional
10cm Circular Cutter (or use an upturned glass with those dimensions)
Muffin Tin (this one has a depth of around 3.5cm)
Preheat the oven to 220 Degrees / 200 Fan.
In a small pan add the chopped apples, 50g of caster sugar, the cinnamon, all spice and maple syrup. If you’re not averse to sultanas or dried fruit in general, add those in here also.
Gently heat for around 10 minutes until the apple begins to break down. You want it to retain some of its shape and not be a total mush here. Add a dash of water along the way if you think it’s looking a little too dry. Set to one side whilst you prepare the rest of the pies.
Take a knob of butter and grease the muffin tin, don’t go too heavy here but you want to ensure it’s enough grease to ensure the pies pop out easily.
Once your pastry has been out of the fridge for 15 minutes or so, unwrap it and unroll it. Use a circular cutter to cut as many pie cases out as possible, I got 10 out of the pastry sheet I had with a 10cm cutter, only having to bring back to the dough to roll out once.
Transfer the pastry to the muffin tin, as you drop each circle in, put your thumb and fore finger at the ‘corners’ as it were, as you drop it into the tin bring in this corners. It should happily fold in and create a kind of ruffled effect. These won’t be perfectly circular and there will be overlaps and folds. As they cook they will largely even themselves out anyway. Gently press it into place, ensuring the bottom is nicely flattened.
In a bowl add the flour, the rest of the sugar and the cubed butter. Rub together, creating large breadcrumbs. Personally I don’t like my crumble too fine, some larger floury rubble are welcomed in my book.
Add the apple filling to the pie cases, filling them nice and full. Don’t be stingy. To the top of each pie add the crumble topping. Feel free to sprinkle with some additional cinnamon too, if you’re a fan.
Cook for 15 minutes, leaving in slightly longer if the crumble on top hasn’t browned nicely.
Once cooked, remove from the oven and leave in the tin for half an hour, before slowly coaxing them out with a knife. If you slide the knife down once side of the case you’ll find it almost rocks forward, allowing you to grab it and pull it out. Add them to a wire rack and leave to cool, or serve warm.