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Honey Mince Pies



Every year it seems like less and less people are making their own mince pies for Christmas. While this is completely understandable (many of us have very busy lives!) it is a shame because most of the shop bought offerings leave a lot to be desired. In this recipe we have used pre-made pastry to help you save some time, as it's the filling where you can really make a difference by making it yourself. If you want to make the pastry too, then just use a standard shortcrust pastry recipe.

Our delicious mincemeat filling is bursting with fruits, nuts, honey and wonderful Christmassy spices! The ingredients list may look quite long but it's very easy to make. A heads up before you start, the filling will need 24-48 hours chilling before using to allow all the flavours to fully develop, so make it a couple of days before you intend to bake the pies for the best results!

To make Just Bee Honey Mince Pies you will need:

  • 90g Sultanas
  • 35g Raisins
  • 35g Dried Chopped Apricots
  • 30g Glacé Cherries
  • 25g Dried Candied Citrus Peels
  • 25g Dried Cranberries
  • 15g Walnuts
  • 15g Almonds
  • 15g Hazelnuts
  • 25ml Dark Spiced Rum (Alternatively you can use Brandy or Bourbon if you prefer)
  • 2 Tbsp Just Bee Honey
  • ¼ Tsp Ginger
  • ¼ Tsp Cinnamon
  • A pinch or two of Nutmeg
  • A pinch or two of Ground Cloves
  • 250ml Apple Juice
  • 20g Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Orange
  • 1 Bramley Apple
  • 320g roll of Shortcrust pastry
  • A little icing sugar for dusting.

This recipe will make between 8 and 12 mince pies depending on how deep/large your pies are, there may be some mincemeat left over that you can freeze for later, or refrigerate to make more pies the next day!

Part 1: Making The Mincemeat Filling.

  • Start by peeling, coring and dicing half of the Bramley apple into small pieces then add it to your saucepan (you can munch on the other half later!). Then add the zest of the orange along with half of the juice from the orange too.
  • Next cut the butter into small chunks and add that to the pan too, along with the apple juice and honey.
  • Heat gently on a low heat until the butter and honey have melted, then remove from the heat.
  • Add all the spices (ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves) and the rum and stir through.
  • Then add all the remaining fruit and nuts. The nuts should be broken up or chopped into small pieces and the cherries cut into quarters. Give it a good mix around and return to a low heat to gently simmer.
  • Leave the pan uncovered and stir often until the liquid has almost disappeared. Just a small amount in the bottom is what we are looking for. This should take around 10-15 minutes.
  • When your mixture is ready, remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl, then cover with kitchen foil and put it in the fridge; alternatively you can use a container with a lid if you have one that's a suitable size. Leave in the fridge for at least 24 hours (preferably 48) to allow the magic to happen!

Part 2: Making the Pies.

  • When your filling is ready, take your pre-made pastry out of the fridge and unroll it on your counter top.
  • Preheat the oven to Gas mark 5 or 190c (170c for a fan assisted oven).
  • Prepare the cupcake tray by greasing it with a little butter.
  • Using a suitable sized circle cutter, cut out your pie cases from the pastry, and push them gently down into the cupcake tray. Leave a little pastry at the end of the roll, to cut strips for a lattice top (or stars or whatever design you fancy!)
  • Fill each pie with mincemeat but not right to the top, make sure to leave a small gap at the top so it doesn't all bubble over the sides.
  • Next either add some thin strips of pastry to make a lattice or cut out some smaller shapes to decorate the top. If you have enough pasty you can make full lids, just be sure to pierce them a couple of times with a knife so steam can escape.
  • Pop them in the centre of the oven for around 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.
  • Allow to cool a little before removing from the tray, then dust with some icing sugar for the finishing touch.

Buying Cheats:

If you don't have any of the dried fruit in your cupboard then it can be quite expensive buying them all in one go. A more affordable solution is to look for something called 'Dried Mixed Fruit' which is largely sultanas, raisins and candied peel together in a ratio that is close enough to use in this recipe. Simply replace the 90g sultanas, 35g raisins and 25g of dried candied peel with 150g of the dried mixed fruit. Then you only have to buy the apricot, cranberries and cherries.

The nuts in the baking aisle can also be very expensive, so ignore the nuts there and head over to the snacks aisle where you can often find a very inexpensive bag of supermarket branded 'Unsalted Mixed Nuts' which will almost always contain enough walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts for this recipe. You'll have to tip them out on a plate and weed out all the peanuts (which you can eat later!) but after doing so you should have plenty left for the recipe. As long as you have around 45g in total it won't really matter if you have a couple of extra grams of walnuts or a few less of hazelnuts.

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