Christmas Mince Pies with Dark Chocolate & Figs or White Chocolate & Cranberries


OK here's the deal. Usually I don't give much of a spiel when posting recipes, but on this occasion with Christmas around the corner, I am going to go wild for a change! First off - Christmas. We all know that it is the time of giving, family, good cheer etc etc...falalalala...but it is often a time of stress, busy-ness and a bit of family drama. The thing is, I actually love Christmas but the time surrounding it can get really ugly. So I am not posting a recipe for Christmas mince pies that sees you making your own Christmas mince weeks in advance of making the pies because really - really? I just don't have the heartbeats or time to be that organised, (even though I know the processes in making pastry and fruit mince aren't difficult, it is just at this time of year it all seems like too much). Instead here are two recipes for Christmas mince pies that are totally cheaty and delicious using bought Christmas mince and pastry, that get tricked up with chocolate, dried fruit and brandy so that you can have a total 'tah dah' moment without any extra hard labour!

If you have read this blog before you will know that I love nothing more in the universe than being surrounded by my boys and closest family and friends - and I am sure I am not alone in this. Over time we have built up layered memories of spending holidays with the same close circle - and Nick and I have established traditions around Christmas which have become some of my fondest memories ever. When the boys were little we would always get them fed, bathed, into their pjs and ready for bed, then all together we would put the Christmas mince pies and a glass of milk on the mantlepiece for Santa, then put a bucket of water and some carrots outside for the reindeer before tucking the boys into bed. Once they were safely asleep, Nick and I would pour a glass of red wine, wrap the last of the pressies and eat the mince pies, leaving lots of obvious crumbs. Nick would disturb a few things around the fireplace then head outside to empty the bucket and gnaw on some carrots - omigod I loved it. In the morning the boys would come racing into our bedroom eyes like saucers, exploding with excitement at about 5am, and Christmas day would begin. Heaven.

However you spend Christmas day, I hope you get the chance to make a memory or two and through all of the stress and rushing, take the opportunity to enjoy the moment. Merry Christmas!

(PS - if this is your first time visiting From the Kitchen, (welcome!) and feel free to come on over to the homepage or recipe index, and I hope you find loads more that takes your fancy! :)
(PPS the mince pies are bloody good too)




White Chocolate and Cranberry Christmas Mince
500g (1 1/2 cups) good quality fruit mince
2 tbsp brandy
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup ground almonds
100g white chocolate, chopped into chunks
drop almond essence
(enough for around 36 mince pies depending on the size)

Dark Chocolate and Fig Christmas Mince
500g (1 1/2 cups) good quality fruit mince
2 tbsp brandy
3/4 cup dried figs, chopped
1/4 cup ground almonds
100g 70% dark chocolate, chopped into chunks
1/3 cup finely chopped crystallised ginger(optional)
 (enough for around 36 mince pies depending on the size)


3kg sweet ready rolled shortcrust pastry (for full amount)

To make each of the Christmas mince fillings simple mix all of the ingredients together and store in an airtight container until you are ready to use it. It will last up to 3 weeks, and for some obscure reason I stored mine in the fridge. Like this you can make as many or few as you like at a time.

When you are ready to bake them, spray your mini muffin tins with a little neutral oil (like rice bran), then use a cookie cutter to cut circles of pastry to line the tins. Keep the pastry chilled until you use it, but let it soften a bit before you try and squish it in, so that it doesn't crack. I used a cocktail muddler (as you do) to poke mine in firmly. Use a teaspoon to fill the cases with Christmas mince, but don't overfill as it will ooze out and be a complete pain to clean off the tins. Cut shapes out to put on top then put the trays in the fridge to chill while you heat the oven to 180˚C (350˚F). Make sure you do chill the tarts for at least 20 minutes before you bake them as if the pastry is too soft going in it can go too 'runny' on the top. Bake for 15-25 minutes depending on the size of your mince pies - I baked my little ones for 15 minutes, and the big ones in these pics for 20 minutes.

When serving they are extra nice re-heated for 5 minutes in a 180˚C (350˚F) oven and served with eggnog custard cream or whipped cream sweetened with a little icing sugar and laced with brandy or whiskey. They are exactly what Santa needs after squeezing himself down your chimney, make a perfect little hostess gift and are great to enjoy with restorative cups of tea in the days after the main event!




Labels: , , ,