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Clementine and Cranberry Mince Pies

Did you know that the original mince pies really did have meat in them? They were based on a spiced and fruity Middle Eastern delicacy, introduced to the UK by soldiers returning from the crusades. This recipe, however, sticks to the modern formula of a fruit-packed and festive delicacy.

Serves 24 Total Time  1 hr, plus overnight soaking.

Ingredients 

  • 150g cranberries 
  • 100g mixed dried fruit
  • 30g almonds, roughly chopped 
  • 1 bramley apple, cored and grated 
  • 50g light soft brown sugar 
  • zest and juice of 3 clementines
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 30g suet, shredded 
  • 2 tbsp brandy or sherry 

To decorate:

  • 150g orange marmalade 
  • 2 tbsp milk 
  • Golden caster sugar, for dusting 

For the pastry:

  • 115g icing sugar 
  • 115g unsalted butter
  • 3 medium egg yolks 
  • 3 tbsp cold water 
  • 300g plain flour, extra for dusting 
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Mix together all the mince ingredients, cover and set aside overnight for the fruit to soak. 
  2. To make the pastry, whizz the icing sugar, butter and egg yolks in a food processor until smooth. Add the water and whizz again. Add the flour and salt and blend until just combined, then knead on a lightly floured surface – just until it becomes a smooth ball.
    Flatten into a disk, wrap in clingfilm and chill for 15 mins. 
  3. Preheat oven to 190°C/ 170°C fan/gas. 
  4. Roll the pastry out on a floured surface, to the thickness of a pound coin. Cut out 24 discs using a 7cm fluted cutter, then line a 12-hole mini tart tins with pastry. Gather any trimmings into a smooth ball, wrap in clingfilm and chill until needed. 
  5. Spread a little marmalade into the base of each pie, then top with 1 tsp mince. 
  6. Roll out the remaining pastry and cut out star shapes using mini cutters. Sit two or three stars on each pie, brush with milk, then dust with caster sugar and bake for 20 mins, or until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
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