With aromatic Quick Mincemeat ready in my refrigerator, Fruit Mince Pies were the obvious way to enjoy it! If you love these pies, please do make your own mincemeat as its very little effort and is infinitely tweak-able. Once this is ready, these pies are easy, quick and fun to put together. Spicy, plumped up dried fruit and candied peel in a flaky pie crust. Obviously rich, these are better bite-sized. Unless you are someone like me, you will make them look pretty too! Cut out the pastry to make stars and snowflakes, bring the festive little treats to the Christmas table!
Three days is all you get to use up the mincemeat without alcohol! And then hasten to roll out some quick pie crust. The crust here has very little sugar, perhaps better with all the sweet fruit in the mincemeat. But a less rich (but sweeter) crust like this one in the Bittersweet chocolate mousse tart should work just as well. I like to pre-bake the crust to ensure its properly baked and satisfactory before I put in the filling, re-warm briefly and serve. This also gives you the option to bake the pastry well ahead of time, the better if yours will be a busy Christmas. Of course, you may not get the applause you deserve as the snowflakes or stars on top may topple any moment, but yes, your fruit will be soft and the pastry will taste fresh!
Mincemeat - 1 cup (depending on the size of your pies)
Pie crust :
Flour : 175 grams
Butter : 113 grams, cubed and chilled till very cold
Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
Powdered sugar - 1/2 tablespoon
Ice cold water - 2 tablespoons (plus 1 tablespoon if needed)
Freshly grated orange zest - 1 teaspoon (optional)
Cinnamon - 1/2 teaspoon (optional)
Equipment : One Small and another large metal bench scraper. Chill these at least for 15 mins. Alternatively you could use a food processor.
A rolling pin.
A mini muffin tray, star / snowflake shaped cookie cutters in suitable sizes. Round or fluted cookie cutter according to the size of your muffin tray. (Test with some roti atta to be sure about the sizes!)
Pie weights or kidney beans. Small squares of aluminum foil
Special instructions : Work in a cool kitchen.
Method : To make the pie crust :
Mise en place.
Whisk the orange zest into the cold water. Let this remain in the freezer till you use it. Do not leave it too long or it will freeze! Keep the extra tablespoon water in another cup in the freezer.
Sift together the powdered sugar, cinnamon and salt. Transfer the flour mixture onto your kitchen counter.
Dump the cold butter on the flour. Toss the pieces in the flour so that the flour coats it.
Using the bench scraper, briskly cut the butter into the flour till the mixture resembles bread crumbs. This will take a couple of minutes.
Make a well in the middle of the flour. Take 2 tablespoons cold water from the freezer and pour into the well. Gently gather the flour into the water using your fingertips. The dough will begin to come together.
If you pinch some dough between your thumb and forefinger, it should hold together and not crumble apart. Though the mixture may look dry-ish at this stage, it will come together well. Add more of the chilled water just half a teaspoon at a time if the mixture doesn't hold when pinched. Remember, excess water will make the pastry tough.
Once you have added the needed amount of water, divide the flour mixture into two portions. Smear each portion gently once across the counter with the heel of your hand. Gather it back, the pastry will be smoother now.
Flatten, wrap it in the cling film well and refrigerate for at least half an hour. Overnight is fine too.
When ready to bake :
If the pastry is very firm, leave it (still wrapped) on the counter for 15-20 minutes or till firm but malleable enough.
Flour your counter very lightly.
Gently roll out the pastry about 3-4 mm thick. Cut out the circles.
Slip them in gently into the muffin molds, taking care not to stretch it or it will shrink later. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for an hour or overnight to suit your schedule. Cut out stars or snowflakes with the remaining pastry. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, cover with cling film and refrigerate.
Pre-heat oven to 190 C/ 375 F. Remove cling film, place squares of foil inside the cups, put some kidney beans to weigh them down and bake for 18-20 minutes or till light golden and crisp. Bake the star cut outs separately. Store airtight till needed.
To serve: Place a teaspoon of mincemeat in the pastry cups ( I have gone overboard!). Top with the cut outs, heat in a pre-heated oven for 2 minutes. Serve warm.
Owning a Kitchen Aid is every baker's dream and I hope my wish is fulfilled this Christmas! Kitchen Aid India plays Santa and I am sending these pies to the Kitchen Aid Christmas Blogger Contest. Listening Santa?
Get a special ‘Christmas Frosting Kit’ as gift with purchase of the iconic KitchenAid 4.8 L Tilt Head Stand Mixer from 1st-31st December 2014, and make delectable memories this Christmas. For more details, visit www.christmas.kitchenaidapac.com ”