04 December, 2016

Healthy Mince Pies // Vegan + GF Option

http://www.thewhimsicalwildling.com/2016/12/healthy-mince-pies-vegan.html

It's not Christmas unless I've overindulged on mince pies. 
 
Let's get one thing straight; mince pies are not made with meat. Well, they were originally filled with animal flesh and produced in an oval shape to represent the manger that Jesus slept in as a baby. However, times have changed and for the past 200 years, they are a delicious pastry pie full of a sweet dried fruit mix and are usually a circular shape with a star on top and they're bloody fantastic. Unfortunately, many still often contain animal products such as butter and eggs. Furthermore, if they do happen to be cruelty free they're not healthy which means you can't stuff your face with these tasty treats without packing on a few inches on the waist line. Of course, food should be consumed in moderation and there's nothing wrong with indulging in some junk food now and again. However, what's the point of doing so, if you can indulge in some guilt-free, mince pies that taste just as good and are made with natural, healthy ingredients with a dash of love from baking them yourself? 
 
This is the perfect thing to make with your loved ones during the holidays. In fact, Tabitha and myself will be making these together come Christmas Eve and I have a feeling this is going to turn into a new holiday tradition. What better activity than to spend some time together, blasting Christmas Jingles and cooking up some baked goods made out of compassion?
 
We didn't have the correct cookie cutters for the top of the mince pies but I still love how they came out. The little stars add a bit of charm, don't you think? We loved how well these came out, that we'll be making quite a few batches for our Christmas Party, which we expect to go down a treat. Moreover, they are really easy to make so there's none of that Christmas Season Stress. 

 Ingredients for the Pastry

 -200g of ground almonds
 -200g of oat flour (Opt for GF if required)
 -1/2 cup + 1 teaspoon of coconut oil (in it's solid form i.e. not melted)
 -6 tablespoons of water
 -380g of dates (pitted)

 Ingredients for the Fruit Mince
 
400 g  apples, finely diced with the skin
300g Dried Fruit Mix
100 g Cranberries
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
 500 ml fresh apple juice (We used innocent)
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract

Recipe 
(Makes approx 19 Mince Pies)

Pre-heat the oven at 180 degrees (160 for fan oven).

1. Start by creating the fruit mince. Combine the apples, dried fruit mix and cranberries into a large pot. Give this a good mix, then ddd the apple juice, cinnamon nutmeg, ginger and vanilla.

2. Place the pot over the stove and cover with a lid. Gently heat for 30 minutes, remembering to stir every now and then. Ensure this does not boil but is at a constant gentle simmer. Add more apple juice if you need to keep the mixture plump and moisturized.

3. Whilst the fruit mince is cooking, make the pastry. In a food processor, add the ground almonds, flour, coconut oil, dates and water. Mix on high setting until combined, this will take a few minutes but really depends on your food processor. This can also be done in a high speed blender however, be careful if using this method as not to break your machine.

4. Once the ingredients have combined a pastry consistency has formed, flour a clean work surface and roll out the pastry until you have the desired thickness. We like our pastry to be quite thick, however, the usual average is around 1/2 cm thick.

5. With a circle biscuit cutter, press into the pastry and place into tin. We found we didn't need to grease or line the tin, however, if you feel like your mince pies will stick carry out this step.

6. Once you have cut out as many circle shapes as possible. Combine all the left over pastry and roll out again. Cut out small shapes to put on the top of the pies. We chose to do little flowers and hearts because we didn't have any stars.

7. Place the pastries case into the oven and allow to bake for around 8 minutes. Your fruit mince may be done now. Check to see if almost all the liquid has evaporated. When this has happened, remove the pot from the stove and allow to cool for a few moments with the lid removed.

8. Once the pastry cases are slightly golden, remove them from the oven and fill each pastry case with your homemade mince meat and place your shapes on top.

9. Put the mince pies back into the oven and allow to bake for a further 10 minutes.

10. Once baked, remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack or enjoy them warm. For an extra Christmas touch, sprinkle over some icing sugar (optional)

Keep stored in a sealed container (once fully cool) You could also add some brandy or spiced rum to the mince meat for a richer flavour.

Enjoy your healthy, homemade mince pies!




I'd love to know what you think of them, if you decide to make these wonderful Christmas treats.
 
 
 

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