Mince Pies

 

 

Like I have said before my family love anything that contains sweet mincemeat. Once I had decided to go completely plant based I found pastry to be the most difficult to convert because it is also gluten free. My go to recipe for pastry was fantastic, so good that people did not know the difference. However, I used an egg to enrich the flavour and help bind the pastry keeping it light and crumbly as any good pastry should be. My attempt as gluten free plant-based pastry were not the greatest unlike pastry made with flour containing gluten, you cannot just rely on the flour. It becomes too hard. I do not like using xanthan gum to bind as I do not like the texture it creates. So more experimenting. I have several recipes for pastry using gluten free oat flour and almond flour, also a shortbread biscuit style but for a mince pie you need a pastry. I decided to replace the egg I would normally use with a flax-seed egg and added some baking powder. This seemed to work well but it’s a work in progress as I strive to make it better. Much of this pastry recipe in in the technique and temperature. For now, here is my mince pie recipe using my homemade mincemeat recipe.

Ingredients

280g gluten free plain flour

120g vegan butter or hard spread (I used stork block)

2-6 depending on humidity very cold water

½ tsp baking powder

1 flax seed egg- 1tbsp ground flax seeds mixed with 3 tbsp water

Pinch of Himalayan sea salt

Homemade mincemeat

A little plant based milk for glazing

2 tsp coconut sugar

 

Method

Firstly, place a fork knife and your water in the fridge, trust me this will become clear later. Mix your flax-seed egg, place the flax-seed and water in a small cup or bowl and stir to combine, set aside.

In a food processor measure your flour and baking powder. With you cold knife cut the hard butter in to small chunks and add to the food processor. This is to keep the butter as cold as possible. I have bags of butter already measured in the freezer, so I just remove from the freezer and put straight into the processor. Using the pulse setting pulse until the mix resembles wet sand. Be careful not to over process so it begins to stick together. Tip this into a mixing bowl. The reason for doing it in the food processor is to keep the mix as cold as possible and to avoid touching it. If you do not have a food processor lightly rub the butter and flour until you get the desired wet sand / breadcrumb look. I would suggest you wash your hands in cold water and dry to keep your hands nice and cold.  With your cold fork stir and mix in your flax seed egg, your mix will not come together yet. Gradually 1 tbsp at a time add your water mix with the fork or the tips of your fingers. You want it to just come together, it will look a bit crumbly at this point. Do not overhandle. One it has come together tip out onto your work surface. Kneed 3 or 4 rolls just to combine, literally a couple of seconds! Do not over handle or kneed your dough or it will become hard and greasy when cooked. Wrap in cling film flatten slightly to make rolling easier and pop in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

When you are ready to make your mince pies remove your pastry from the fridge and allow to sit for about 5 minutes. Grease the holes of a bun tin and pre-heat your oven to 180oc/gas mk 4.

Lay a sheet of cling film on your work surface and dust lightly with gf plain flour. Remove your pastry from its cling film (Do not kneed) and place on the dusted cling film, lightly dust the top of the pastry and cover with another sheet of film. Roll your pastry between the two sheets of cling film. This pastry can be quite sticky and the temptation if rolling on a board is to add more flour which changes the pastry, the pastry absorbs the flour and you become tempted to do it again. By rolling between two sheets of film it allows you to roll without sticking.  Once you have the desired thickness remove the top layer and with a round cutter dipped in flour to stop it from sticking, cut disks big enough to cover the indent of each hole in your bun tin. Fill each pastry case with a spoonful of your mincemeat. Cut either another round or a shape to cover each mince pie. With a brush wet the edges of your base with the plant milk to stick the lid to the base. Brush the tops with a little plant milk to glaze and sprinkle with coconut sugar for colour and sweet crunch.  Bake in the oven for 15-18 minutes, until the top starts to brown. Allow to cool on a wire rack. These are lovely served hot or cold.

Store in airtight tin.