Vegetarian Mince Pies

Vegetarian Mince Pies – crisp flaky golden pastry and rich fruity brandy-infused mincemeat and all ready in just over half an hour. Your kitchen will be filled with delicious seasonal baking aromas and you will be able to offer everyone, veggies and meat-eaters, a warm pie fresh from the oven. If you want to get into the Christmas baking vibe, without doing anything too complicated or time consuming, then this is your go-to recipe.

In a world where there is a proliferation of good-quality ready-made Mince Pies, I think it is still worth making your own as it is an easy short-cut to seasonal baking bliss without too much effort. At this time of the year, spending an hour or so making these beauties, ignoring the cold outside, is just what I want to do.

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Pimp your pies…

This is my manifesto for Mince Pie making heaven.

  • I think home-made Mincemeat is best and I have a recipe on this blog. However, you do need to make it in advance and, frankly, you may not have either the time or inclination to do this. Using shop-bought mincemeat is absolutely fine but try and go for one that is good quality. If you are using shop-bought mincemeat, you can add a teaspoon of brandy or port to the mixture, which will really lift the flavour, or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice if you don’t want to use alcohol. Adding some grated orange or lemon peel is also good.
  • Whether you are using home-made or shop-bought mincemeat, you can add an additional hidden treat to your pies. I will sometimes add the following to each pie, on top of the mincemeat filling, before putting on the pastry lid: a chunk of marzipan, a few dried cranberries, a piece of dark chocolate, a glace cherry or a lump of cheese.
  • Again, I think home-made pastry is best. It has a buttery crispness which even good quality ready-made pastry doesn’t seem to have. It is also really easy to make your own pastry. However, again, you may not have the time or inclination to make your own. If you want to use shop-bought pastry, that is fine. Just make sure you get a brand that is “all butter” as it will generally taste better.
  • You can go for different shaped “lids” for you pies but, honestly, stars are best. It is Christmas after all and you can’t get much more festive than a star!
  • When you are baking your pies, make sure that the door to your kitchen is open so the smell of baking and alcohol-infused fruit spreads throughout your house.
  • Without a doubt, mince pies are best eaten warm. If you are not eating them immediately, you can re-heat them by popping them in the oven at 180 C, 350 F or Gas Mark 4 for five minutes. You can eat them on their own. You can eat them with whipped or pouring cream (if you must). I eat mine with a lump of strong cheese (extra mature cheddar) and a glass of Pedro Ximenez sherry, if I can. Try it before you judge.

To make this recipe you will need

Vegetarian Mince Pies

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Vegetarian Mince Pies

Vegetarian Mince Pies

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 12 large pies 1x
  • Category: Pies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

These easy Vegetarian Mince Pies combine crisp buttery pastry with rich, brandy-infused dried fruit.  They are the taste of Christmas!


Scale

Ingredients

For the pastry:

  • 275 g plain flour
  • 125 g fat (I use a mix of half butter and half Trex as I think this makes the lightest pastry)
  • Salt
  • A little water

For the filling:

  • 1 large jar of mincemeat – see my easy Vegetarian Mincemeat recipe or use good quality shop-bought
  • A little milk and caster sugar

Vegetarian Mince Pies


Instructions

  1. Set you oven to 180 C, 350 F or Gas Mark 4.
  2. Make the pastry. Put the flour in a bowl.  Add the fat and combine –  either by “rubbing in” by hand or processing – until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add a little cold water (2-3 tbsp) and shape the mixture into a dough.  
  3. If you have time, allow your pastry dough to rest for half an hour, wrapped in cling film, as this will make the resulting pastry more tender.  If you do not have the time, don’t worry!
  4. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface so that it is as thin as possible.
  5. Using a round pastry cutter which is slightly larger than the depressions in your pie tin cut circles from your pastry.  I use a 7.5 cm diameter pastry cutter which is fairly standard.
  6. Place a circle in each of the depressions in your pie tin.
  7. Put 2 teaspoons of mincemeat onto each pastry circle.
  8. Using a star shaped pastry cutter, cut stars from the remainder of the pastry. Place them on top of each mound of mincemeat.
  9. Paint the top of each star with a little milk using a pastry brush.  Sprinkle with caster sugar.  This will make the top of the pies golden and crunchy.  (Some people add beaten egg instead but I always think it is a waste of an egg as you don’t need very much of it!)
  10. Put the pies in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes.  They will be done when the pastry is golden.
  11. Remove the  pies from the tin immediately and place on a cooling rack.

Vegetarian Mince Pies

Vegetarian Mince Pies

 


Notes

  • This quantity of pastry and mincemeat makes approximately 12 large pies.  It will vary according to how thin you roll your pastry and the size of the depressions in you pie tin.
  • This recipe is vegetarian (as long as you use vegetarian Mincemeat)

Keywords: Mince Pies, Christmas, baking

This recipe has been shared on #CookBlogShare with Lost in Food  and #FiestaFriday with Fiesta Friday and Jhuls at The Not So Creative Cook and #BakingCrumbs with Apply to Face Blog

Loved this recipe? You may also like the following recipes. Or checkout the Recipe Index.

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Easy Mincemeat recipe

Easy, home-made, vegetarian Mincemeat – a traditional seasonal recipe

This easy Mincemeat recipe was made by my mother every Christmas. It is based on one in an extremely old and battered copy of Mrs Beeton’s Cookery Book, which she always kept to hand in her kitchen. However, she made a few adaptations, such as leaving out the mixed peel because she didn’t like it and adding more brandy for the opposite reason. And I follow her example in this.

However, my one change to the recipe is that I use vegetarian suet rather than animal suet. I don’t think it makes any difference to the taste. Mincemeat is a very old recipe, and originally contained meat, and the inclusion of suet was a continuation of this. If you are vegetarian, this recipe has all the taste and no animal products.

Home-made Mincemeat – why on earth would you bother?

You may be wondering why you would bother to make your own Mincemeat when there are a huge number of good quality jars on your supermarket shelves. You might also think that there are even more packets of mince-pies available for you to eat right now without bothering to turn on your oven. In response, I would make the following points.

It’s easy

Firstly, it is extremely easy to make your own home-made Mincemeat. In fact, calling it a recipe, is a bit of a stretch as you just mix the various ingredients together and then leave them for the flavours to develop. Mincemeat does not require any cooking as the sugar and brandy transform and combine the other ingredients.

The one point you need to bear in mind is that you need to make the Mincemeat a month before you plan to use it. It needs this time for the brandy to work its magic on the dried fruit. So if you want to make mince-pies for Christmas, you need to be thinking about making your Mincemeat in late November. In fact, traditionally it is made on Stir Up Sunday which is the last Sunday before Advent. In 2019, this is Sunday, 24th November.

It tastes good

Secondly, there is absolutely no comparison in terms of taste between the shop bought Mincemeat and the one you make at home. Even high quality ready-made versions will have a comparatively high proportion of sugar and a comparatively low proportion of brandy. Yes, even those which state that they contain brandy really do not have very much! Home-made mincemeat is full of flavour as, in addition to the brandy and dried fruit, it has a hit of citrus and spice from the nutmeg and cinnamon.

It is Christmas in a jar…

Thirdly, if you want to get your Christmas baking mojo on, this is absolutely the perfect recipe. With the smell of dried fruit soaked in brandy, you have Christmas right there. You get this when you make the Mincemeat and, again, when you use it to make mincepies. Buttery pastry, warmed brandy-soaked fruit – need I say more?

…or under the tree

Fourthly, if you are looking for home-made present ideas, this is a pretty good one. You can dress up the jar with a few ribbons and you are good to go. As there is essentially no skill involved whatsoever, and doing the mixing is quite fun, it is definitely worth considering as a home-made present from children to older relatives. Provided said relatives like Mincemeat – probably best to check first.

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Mincemeat

Easy Mincemeat recipe

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Total Time: 10
  • Category: Pie filling
  • Cuisine: English

Description

With sugar, citrus and dried fruit soaked in brandy, this home-made Mincemeat is Christmas in a jar.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 450 g vegetarian suet
  • 450 g currants
  • 450 g raisins
  • 450 g sultanas
  • 450 g caster sugar
  • 1 cooking apple
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 75 ml brandy

Mincemeat


Instructions

  1. Put the suet, dried fruit and sugar in a large bowl.
  2. Peel, core and chop the apple and add it to the bowl.
  3. Add the nutmeg, cinnamon and lemon zest.
  4. Pour in the brandy and stir well.
  5. Pack the mixture into sterilised jars.
  6. Place the jars in a cool, dry place and leave for at least a month before using. 
  7. Check the jars every week or so.  If the top of the Mincemeat looks dry, you can top it up with some more brandy.

Mincemeat


Notes

You can sterilise your jar by washing it in warm, soapy water, rinsing well and then drying off for 15 minutes in an oven set at 140C/120C fan/gas 1.   

If (unlike me) you like mixed peel, you can also add 450 g of it to this recipe.

It is easy to scale up this recipe if you want to make more mincemeat.  Simply double or triple the quantities of all the ingredients.

The mincemeat should last for at least six months in its jar.  You can also freeze it – taking it out of the jar and putting it into a freezer-proof container – and it will keep for at least twelve months.

This recipe has been shared on #CookBlogShare with LostinFood and #Fiesta Friday with Fiesta Friday and  Liz at Spades, Spatulas and Spoons

Loved this recipe? You may also like the following recipes. Or checkout the Recipe Index.

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