Delicious gluten free pastry!
Fruit Mince Pies at Christmas Time
Once a year I make some fruit mince pies. It’s a tradition from my roots growing up in England and whilst living in Australia I kept that tradition going.
I avoid gluten, so I wanted to recreate the fruit mince pies but with a delicious, easy, healthier, gluten free pastry that was worthy of the Christmas Day feast. For me it’s all about great pastry! The pastry from store bought sweet fruit mince pies are usually made with white flour or white gluten free flour, lots of sugar and margarine. Nothing even remotely healthy about those and such a disappointment to eat. These pies are the opposite.
Buckwheat is my go-to when I want a gluten free flour, often I combine it with oat flour and blend 50/50. In these fruit mince pies I have used just buckwheat as they give a lovely biscuity finish to the pastry. I make my own buckwheat flour by popping the buckwheat groats into a high speed blender and grinding until I have a flour consistency. That way I can keep the buckwheat slightly coarse, which means the pastry has a crunchy finish which I like. Readymade buckwheat flour works just as well and you’ll still achieve a light biscuity crunch to your pastry once cooked.
This is one of the few occasions when I use butter because it has such a beautiful action in the pastry, creating a great texture and taste in the mouth. However if you can’t eat dairy food then I suggest swapping (with the same weight as butter) to half-half olive oil and coconut oil. You’ll need to keep the coconut oil cold and firm.
Buying a natural, low sugar, fruit mince is difficult to find. Making your own isn’t hard; It may be a bit more time consuming, but well worth it. I’ve included my fruit mince recipe here; Its not nearly as sweet as bought fruit mince. Tangy, zesty and really easy to make, it tastes great and is ready to use straight away.
Here’s my recipe for the best buckwheat pastry:
- 250g buckwheat flour – important to store buckwheat flour in fridge or freezer so its cold before using
- 65g coconut sugar or brown sugar
- 125g cold organic butter, cut into rough cubes
- pinch of salt, if not using salted butter
- Zest from 1 organic orange or 1 tsp ground cloves/mixed spice
- 1 small organic/free range egg + optional 1 egg for brushing on pastry
How To make:
Pop into a food processor the cold butter, coconut sugar, orange zest or spices, pinch of salt (if using unsalted butter) and the cold flour. Process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Alternatively if you have no food processor pop all these ingredients into a bowl and massage them together until you have a mixture that resembles fine-ish breadcrumbs.
Add the egg to the mixture and pulse the food processor until the mixture comes together in a ball. If making in a bowl, then add the egg and kneed until the mixture comes together to form a ball.
Tip out onto a large sheet of baking paper and gently press the ball down so it is flatter. Top with another large sheet of baking paper. Then roll out the pastry between the two sheets of paper. This will prevent the pastry from sticking to the rolling pin, as it’s quite a sticky pastry, depending on how cold your butter and flour were, and how warm the weather is outside! The warmer the starting ingredients and weather, the softer the pastry is to roll and work with, hence the need for two sheet of baking paper to make life super easy (especially if you are making these in Australia).
Once rolled out to about 2-3mm thickness, use a cookie cutter to cut out small rounds. (At this point if your pastry is really soft because it is quite warm then put the rolled pastry, still between the two sheets of pastry, into the freezer to firm up a bit for approx. 10 minutes) The size of these rounds depends on the size of your little tart tins. If using regular fruit mince tart size then you’ll probably need a cookie cutter that is 6.5cm in diameter. Save about ¼ of the pastry to use for star shaped tops, or about ⅓ of the pastry if making full round tops on your pies.
Fill the pies with fruit mince, then cut out the pastry tops. You may need to gather up all your bits of pastry into a ball and re-roll it out to do this.
When the pastry tops are on, if you wish, brush with some egg, as this gives a golden coloured glaze to your cooked pies.
Pop into an oven set at 180˚C, and bake for about 15 minutes or until the pastry is cooked through.
Note – if using the olive oil and cold coconut oil blend to make dairy free pastry then follow the instructions in the same way by simply swapping out the butter and putting the same combined weight of oils in. Make sure the coconut oil is cold.
A not so sweet, healthier Fruit Mince recipe:
Sweet Fruit Mince
Fills roughly a 500ml size jar.
What’s in it:
1 Apple, approx 150g, grated w skin on
12g hazelnuts, approx 15, de-skinned & roughly chopped
2 tsp mixed ground spice or 1 tsp ground cinnamon + ½ tsp ground nutmeg + ½ tsp ground cloves
Pinch of Chinese five spice (optional)
1 heaped tsp finely grated fresh ginger
2 unwaxed oranges, zest and juice
1 unwaxed small lemon, zest and juice
100g currants (sulphur dioxide free)
80g blueberries (sulphur dioxide free)
80g raisins (sulphur dioxide free)
20g/20mls extra virgin olive oil (trust me on this it doesn’t taste odd)
Add at the end:
2 tbs brandy or whiskey (optional)
How to make:
Pop all the ingredients except the brandy into a saucepan.
Mix well and bring to the boil; as soon as the mixture is boiling turn right down to very low, pop a lid on & gently simmer for 10 minutes to soften the dried fruit & cook the apple.
Stir occasionally to prevent the ingredients sticking to the base.
Gradually all the liquid will get absorbed by the fruit.
After approx 10 minutes, remove from the heat & stir in the brandy (if using).
Spoon the fruit mince into a heat proof storage jar/s, the mixture fills a jar approx 500 mls size.
Pack the mince down & cover with a small baking/parchment paper circle to prevent the air getting to the mince. Alternatively flatten out the top of the mince and pour over a small amount of extra virgin olive oil to cover.
Pop the lid/s on & allow the mince to cool completely.
Store in a cool place or in the fridge.
Please tell me how you go! And do share your mince pies on social media and tag me in on Instagram @emmas_nutrition or use the hashtag #emmasnutrition #christmas so I can see them, thanks ?
Happy Christmas x