Give mince pies a makeover with this alternative recipe - all the festive flavour wrapped up in sheets of filo pastry and baked until crisp
- 1 cooking apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
- zest and juice 1 orange
- 50g dried ready-to-eat apricots, chopped
- 25g shelled pistachios
- 50g dried cranberries
- 175g sultanas
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp grated nutmeg
- 2 tbsp brandy
- 1 tbsp clear honey
- 50g butter, melted and kept warm
- 6 sheets filo pastry (270g pack)
- icing sugar, to decorate
MethodLeave the mixture in the fridge for 30 mins to allow the flavours to develop, then stir in the honey. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Arrange the filo sheets with the short side facing you and, using scissors, cut the stack in 3 vertically, to make long strips. Brush the top 3 strips with melted butter.
- 50g blanched almond
- 100g candied peel
- 1 Bramley apple, peeled, cored and chopped into large chunks
- 50g stem ginger, plus 2 tbsp syrup from the jar
- 50g glacé cherry
- 50g ready-to-eat dried pineapple
- 225g each of sultanas/ raisin /currants
- 140g shredded suet
- 225g light muscovado sugar
- ¼ tsp each powdered ginger /mixed spice/nutmeg
- grated zest and juice of 1 orange
- 150ml brandy or dark rum
- In your food processor, pulse the almonds, peel, apple, ginger, cherries and pineapple together until finely chopped (but not mushy), then tip into a large bowl. In batches, pulse the sultanas, raisins and currants until just chopped a little bit then add to the bowl.
- Sprinkle the suet and sugar, salt and spices over all the chopped fruit and mix well. To mix, squelch through fingers. Pour over the ginger syrup, orange juice and zest and alcohol, then mix again. Spoon the mixture into sterilised jars and keep until needed.
- Cut the apples in half widthways. Remove and discard cores, then stand the apples in a microwave-safe dish. Break the marzipan into small chunks and mix with the mincemeat and lemon zest. Spoon into the centre of the apples and pour over the lemon juice.
- Cover the dish with cling film, pierce several times and microwave on High for 4½ minutes. If you don't have a turntable and the apples are not cooking evenly, turn the dish halfway through.
- Remove the cling film and leave to stand for 5 minutes before serving.
- 500g currant
- 500g muscatel or Californian raisin (or a mixture)
- 500g sultana
- 500g Bramley apple, peeled, cored and chopped fairly small
- 2x250g boxes shredded beef suet
- 100g whole blanched almond, coarsely chopped
- 350g natural demerara sugar
- 100g dark muscovado sugar
- 1 rounded tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 rounded tsp ground mixed spice
- 1 large, juicy lemon
- 250g whole mixed peel, chopped into small dice
- 125ml dark rum
- 125ml Disaronno Originale liqueur Disaronno
- 175ml French brandy
- Wash the dried fruit thoroughly in a colander under the cold tap (you may find it easier to do this in batches) - whatever it says on the packet, washing the fruit is something I've (Ruth Watson) always done. Tip the fruit on to clean tea towels and dry by patting in the cloths.
- Put the dried fruit in a very large bowl with the apples, suet, almonds, sugars and spices. Grate the zest of the lemon into the bowl, then squeeze in the juice. Tip in the peel and the alcohol.
- Mix all the ingredients very thoroughly - it's easiest to do this with your (very clean) hands.
- Cover and leave to stand for 24 hours, asking the family to stop and give it a good stir with a spoon when they pass by.
- Pack the mincemeat into sterilised or dishwasher-clean jars (Kilner jars are ideal) and top with greaseproof paper jam covers. Seal the jars tightly and store in a cool place. The mincemeat will last from one year to the next, but's best used within 6 months.