One of the most classic Christmas treats is mince pies. But just because you’re trying to eat healthy it doesn’t mean that you have to forgo traditional treats during this special holiday.
These little homemade pies are loaded with goodness, each bite is light and delicate and won’t leave you feeling heavy or sluggish.
What makes these mince pies healthier?
I’ve replaced your typical unhealthy ingredients with healthy alternatives to make these delicious, homemade mince pies gluten, dairy, meat and refined-sugar free.
Yes they are also vegan. And I’m with you on this one - it makes such a difference to celebrations when you can find a way to enjoy your favourite treats without that auspicious, unhealthy feeling hanging over you.
The dried fruit in these mince pies will give you all the sweetness you need, without the need for added sugar. Plus, the ingredients in the pastry create a crispy, nutty base and topping that delivers amazing taste in combination with the yummy filling.
Making pastry can be tricky, but this recipe is ever so easy and if you follow the instructions when it comes to rolling out the pastry it’s also finger-messy free.
Health benefits of dried fruit
We all know how beneficial it is to incorporate fruit into our daily diet, but what about dried fruit? Yes it’s high in natural sugars but it can also supply the body with more nutrients.
The drying process actually condenses nutrients in the fruit, increasing micro-nutrients like potassium, folate, and magnesium to name a few.
Dried fruits are also great for digestive health as they are full of prebiotic fibre to support improved bowel movements. Subsequently more efficient elimination can help to prevent bloating.
Ever wondered why many energy bars have dried fruit in them? Well. certain dried fruit such as apricots and dates, both of which are in these mince pies can help increase metabolism, in turn boosting energy levels and promoting weight loss.
However, dried fruits still contain natural sugars, so it’s best to consume them in moderation.
How to make these vegan mince pies
Servings: 20 mince pies + extra filling
Prep time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 15 - 20 minutes
For the pie filling:
- 150g sultanas
- 150g dried apricots (diced)
- 100g dried cranberries
- 40g hazelnuts (Pulse on medium speed in a food processor about five times to chop them roughly into fine pieces)
- 2 gala apples (diced into small pieces)
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed (optional)
- Juice & zest of 1 orange
- Juice & zest of ½ lemon
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup (240g) purified water
For the pastry:
- 350g buckwheat flour
- 150g almond flour
- 6 dessert spoons coconut oil + some for greasing
- 12 pitted medjool dates
- 120ml almond milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 5 tablespoons purified water
- Pinch of salt
- Desiccated coconut to sprinkle on top
To make the filling:
- Combine all the ingredients in a pan, add the water, cover and leave to simmer for 20 - 25 minutes. Add more water as necessary to keep the consistency gooey (and lovely). While it's cooking it will smell divine.
To make the pastry:
- Preheat the oven to 150 C (350 F) and grease a mince pie baking tray with coconut oil.
- Place the flour, ground almonds and salt into the food processor and blend.
- Add the rest of the ingredients apart from the water and blend. Then slowly add the water, so the pastry forms together.
- Roll out half of the pastry between two baking paper sheets and cut out the bases using a circular mince pie cutter. Place the bases into the bottom of the baking tray tins.
- Place 1 tablespoon of the pie filling in each base. Then roll out the rest of the pastry mix and make your tops using the circular cutter or if you prefer star tops use a star shaped cutter. If you opt for star shapes you will have more pastry to make more mince pies. Place the tops over the mincemeat and use a brush of water to help the top stick to the base.
- With a fork mark the top of the mince pies before putting them in the oven to cook for 15 - 20 minutes (or until slightly brown). Serve straight away with a sprinkling of desiccated coconut over the top, or reheat later.
These baked mince pies will keep for up to one week in an airtight container. You can also freeze these mince pies before or after cooking, making it even easier to have a batch on hand over the Christmas season.
Freezing & thawing
These mince pies freeze very well and can be frozen for up to 3 months. After baking, cool the pies completely then put them into resealable boxes, putting a piece of parchment (greaseproof) paper in between any layers.
To thaw the mince pies remove them from the boxes and stand on a wire rack at room temperature for at least an hour. When thawed, pop the pies back in the baking tray before gently re-warming them in a low oven (120c / 250F) for about 3-4 minutes before serving.
If you decide to freeze them before baking follow the above steps and then cook as per the recipe instructions in step 6 once they’ve thawed.
Storing your mince pie filling
You’ll probably have some extra filling left over which can be stored in a sterilized glass jar in the fridge.
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Hi, I'm an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Pain & Stress Management Therapist, and Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner.
I help people elevate their mind and body health by addressing diet, nutrition and lifestyle symptoms. Let's work together to optimize how you feel and function.
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