Mince pies are one of the most popular traditional winters and Christmas treats in the UK.
These delicious shortcrust pies are filled with mincemeat made from dried fruits such as raisins, cranberries and spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, allspice, lemon and orange peel, mixed with fat and sometimes with alcohol such as brandy. As the name suggests, in the past, it used to be made with meat and animal fat, but these days its most popular versions are, in fact, vegan and vegetarian.
As you can often find ready mincemeat in supermarkets, many people think it's tough to make. But don't get tricked, as homemade mincemeat filling is easy to prepare and simply delicious. It's so much tastier than ready-bought products, so it's worth taking some time and preparing it in your own kitchen. A jar of homemade mincemeat will also make an excellent gift for your family and friends.
You can make mincemeat ahead of time in November so it can mature till Christmas (if you use alcohol, it will last up to a month), but it's also good if you make it last minute, just before your festive baking (without alcohol).
In our vegan recipe, we are using a mix of our favourite dried fruits (you can choose your favourite dried fruits), some almonds flakes for a more unique texture, plant-based butter instead of animal fat and brandy.
Here's how to make plant-based mincemeat filling
(for approx. 12 -16 mice pies)
350g mixed dried fruits: raisins, cranberries, sultanas, currants, glace cherries (you can combine your favourite dried fruits)
50g candied lemon and orange peel
1 sour apple (chopped)
1 orange (juiced and zested)
50g almond flakes (for a unique texture and flavour)
100g brown sugar
60g soft plant-based butter (it will be a binder and give thick consistency)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice or cloves
100 ml brandy (optional). If you are making this for kids, use some orange or cranberry juice instead
Mix all the ingredients well in a small pot and let it simmer on medium/low heat for approximately 40 minutes until thickened (most of the liquid should evaporate). Stir from time to time.
Set aside for an hour to chill and then keep in the refrigerator for one day until it's ideal to use for mince pies.