The time of year is approaching when we’re all going to find it tough to resist temptation and mince pies are a real weakness of mine. So I started the ‘Great Paleo Mince Pie Experiment’ which stripped of hyperbole means I read some recipe books, scoured the internet and got busy in the kitchen.
The first part was the mincemeat which was very simple. I took my tried and tested Delia recipe, removed the sugar and replaced the cooking apples with eating apples to put some sweetness back in. I could tell by the smell that this had probably worked and the taste test got two thumbs up.
The pastry was more of a challenge. The first attempt followed a recipe that used the method of a traditional shortcrust but replaced the plain flour with almond flour. This resulted in a very greasy pastry that crumbled to dust when you tried to pick it up. Not good. So I consulted my old friend Google and found a Paleo cracker recipe. Someone had commented that this made a good pastry and they were right. It works brilliantly!
Mincemeat (enough for 24 pies)
4 oz eating apples, chopped up v small, no need to peel
2 oz shredded suet
3 oz raisins
3 oz sultanas
3 oz currants
zest and juice of 1 orange
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp ground mixed spice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
touch of grated nutmeg
- Mix everything in a large ovenproof bowl and leave in a cool place overnight
- Cover loosely with foil and put in the oven for 3 hours at Gas 1/4, 120C, 220F
- As it cools, stir occasionally to allow the melted fat to encase the ingredients
Pastry (enough for 12 tarts)
1 cup almond flour (called ground almonds in the UK)
1 egg white
1 pinch salt
Mince pie tray, fairy cake cases, almond flakes to top
Preheat the oven to Gas 3, 160C, 325F
- In a bowl, mix together the almond flour, egg white, and salt until it forms a dough. You might need to add a touch more almond flour to bring it to a pastry dough texture.
- Place the ball of dough between two sheets of grease proof paper and roll out to 1/8″ thickness
- Use a pastry cutter to cut discs to fit your mince pie tin. Gather the scraps and re-roll – you should be able to get 12 discs from the mixture
- Pop the discs into the cake cases. The cracker recipe stresses the importance of baking parchment so this seemed a good way to cook individual pies
- Top each with a couple of teaspoons of mincemeat. You can be quite generous with the mincemeat. It doesn’t spread the same as bought mincemeat because it has no added sugar. Sprinkle on almond flakes as a topping if you like.
- Bake for approx 15 minutes. Have a peek at 10 minutes because you really don’t want to burn these.