I am sure I am in the minority when I say I have never eaten a mince pie - then again do Americans eat mince pies? I've never been keen on any of the ingredients of mincemeat (which for anyone who doesn't know, does not actually include meat) and so never wanted to try one. I've also been trying to lose weight for years and so it seemed pointless to try a mince pie in case I did like them and it gave me one more thing to overindulge in at Christmas!
When we had a pre-Christmas food tasting at Slimming World it seemed a good opportunity to make mince pies and try a less sinful recipe - they are not completely encased in pastry so would almost certainly be lower in calories than the shop-bought kind. In fact Slimming World says a basic standard mince pie from a supermarket is 12 syns going up to 21 syns to one from a coffee shop, whereas their own recipe for mince tarts - without full lids as shown above - are only three and a half syns each. The pastry is unsweetened which also cuts the calories but hopefully they will still taste good.
The Slimming World recipe just says to use mincemeat for the filling and I wanted to make my own. I decided that Mary Berry's recipe looked good - I trust her for something traditional like this, and I also liked the fact that this recipe didn't use suet as I knew if I bought a whole box I wouldn't use it for anything else.
I followed Mary's recipe but added some chopped French glace cherries and used cherry brandy as my liqueur as I thought that would go well together. It was really easy to make -basically just stir everything together in a pan.
To make the pastry, cut 110g butter or margarine into small cubes and work into 225g plain flour with your fingertips. Add a pinch of salt and gradually add cold water a little at a time until you have a pliable dough.
Wrap the dough in cling film and put in the fridge for half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 175C. Lightly spray some cupcake trays with Cake Release. Roll out the pastry and cut half of it into rounds with a cutter. Press into the indents in the cupcake tray. Spoon in about 1 heaped tsp of mincemeat per tart.
Use a festive cookie cutter to make a shape for the lids - I used Christmas trees.
Place the lids on top and bake for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with icing sugar if desired.
I took these to my Slimming World group but still didn't actually eat one, so I can still say I've never eaten a mince pie!
I'm hosting Alphabakes this month (it's Ros from the More Than Occasional Baker's turn again next month) and the letter is X. We are allowing Christmas recipes so I'm sending in these mince pies.
I'm also sending this to Family Foodies, hosted by Vanesther at Bangers and Mash, and on alternate months Louisa at Eat Your Veg as the theme is festive food.
This month's Vegetable Palette challenge, hosted by Shaheen at Allotment 2 Kitchen, has as its theme Christmas fruit and veg. My homemade mincemeat uses cranberries, dried fruits, sultanas and raisins, glace cherries - all quite festive!
I'm also sharing these mince tarts with Treat Petite, hosted by Kat at the Baking Explorer and Stuart at Cakeyboi, as they also have a Christmas theme this month.