Christmas food is an odd thing. Why is it that after Christmas is over, we stop drinking mulled wine? January is dark and dank - if ever there was a time for mulled wine and twinkly lights, then January would be it. But for some reason, the holiday of Christmas has specific food-related rules; one of which is that people must consume as many mince pies as possible during the month of December (and at no other time). However, I don't like mince pies. I do, however, love miniature food and sweet treats. So I put on my thinking cap and decided to make some alternative mince pies - little pies which evoked the flavours of Christmas but without a scrap of mincemeat in sight.
These mini apple pies are not your average apple pie; the apples are soaked in winter Pimms and mixed spice so they get that festive flavour - because nothing says 'Christmas' like putting booze in everything you bake. Right?
For 12 mini apple pies, you'll need:
- 2 medium sized cooking apples
- 4 tbsp. winter Pimms
- 3 tbsp. golden caster sugar
- 1 tbsp. mixed spice
- Zest of 1 orange
- 1 packet of shortcrust pastry (or you can make your own)
- A splash of milk
- A sprinkling of icing sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a muffin tin with butter.
2. Peel and chop the apples into small chunks.
3. Cover with winter Pimms, sugar, zest and mixed spice. Mix together thoroughly and set to one side.
4. Roll our your pastry until it's approximately half a centimetre thick and cut out 12 large circles. They should fit perfectly into the muffin tin without too much overhang of pastry.
5. Gather the remaining pastry into a ball and re-roll to half a centimetre thickness. Cut out 12 small circles of pastry to act as lids. I made mine small enough that they didn't seal the apples in, but that's just personal preference - I like the rustic look!
6. Place the pastry cases in the muffin tin and fill with the apple mixture. Place the lids gently on the top.
7. Using a pastry brush, brush the pastry with milk to give it a lovely colour when baked. Stab the lids with a sharp knife - especially if the lids are sealed.
8. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Leave to cool in the tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
9. Dust with icing sugar before serving.