Mince Pies [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 16 -26 (*Dependant on the pastry.)
Prep & Chilling Time: 40-45 mins
Cooking:15-16 mins
Type: Dessert
Tools: Manual juicer, grater, food processor, kitchen scale, measuring jug, silicone spatula, kitchen film, pot w/lid, wooden spoon, rolling pin, muffin tins, cooling rack

Notes

Here’s another great Christmas recipe that you can make in advance- mince pies! Tick them off your holiday check-list early this year; bake, freeze, defrost and reheat them over the xmas holidays! In fact, they might even last a tad bit longer; they take about thirty minutes to defrost, so that may help to defer all the ‘little elves’ from munching through them so quickly!

When we make ours, we always create our own shortcrust pastry, especially with ground almonds and almond extract (so delicious!), but we’ve never taken the time to make the filling, silly eh? We always succumb to the convenience of prefabricated jars of mincemeat which are just far too sweet and always make you regret eating it! So this year we stopped being silly and made our own; if we only knew how easy it was we would have started this tradition ages ago! 

With the aim of reducing the overall ‘added sugar’ content in these beauties, we opted to omit the sugar from the pastry completely…and keeping with the Christmas theme, substituted it with an orange juice mixture. However, we have added sugar to the list of ingredients, so the choice is yours. Our pastry uses standard vegan margarine; if you are after a flakier/gluten free pastry, try using come vegetable shortening/fat (as you’ll need about twenty percent less than margarine), a mixture of both or even some odourless coconut oil, but just be mindful of the saturated fat!

Our filling, well it’s quite red, but that because there is a lot of cranberries! You can use less and/or substitute for another fruit(s) (cherries and red currents would be nice), or more dried fruit instead. The great thing about using cranberries is that they are relatively cheap and help to offset some of the sweetness of the dried fruit and sugars!

We have tried to mimic our favourite Christmas-y/brand name mince pie flavours; the wine was added on a whim as we were originally going to add juice (you can thank the supermarket sales for that gem!). If you don’t fancy wine, try substituting it for some fresh orange, apple  or pomegranate juice, plain water, or dietary preferences depending, mulled wine, brandy and/or port- just adjust the quantities to your own personal taste and potency! 

*One top thing to note is that our filling makes enough for about twenty-six pies (the cooked weight yields 700g!), but our pastry only stretches into sixteen! So you can: increase the pastry mixture, slightly reduce the filling mixture or save and bottle the remaining mince pie filling in a sterilised bottle. 

Overall these little pies were lovely and nothing quite beats making your homemade shortcrust pastry and filling! If you’re a fan of these delicious morsels, you should really try giving it a whirl! It’s time consuming (well a little), but not too difficult. Just crank up the festive tunes and imagine how good your house will smell with the aroma of fresh, buttery, hot out of the oven shortcrust pastry and wafts of spiced and boozy fruit! Delicious!

Make sure to keep watching this space for more delicious/festive recipes next week! 

Have a great weekend and happy baking everyone! 😀

 

 

Ingredients

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here 🙂

 

Directions

Wash the orange, grate the zest and then juice it (reserve the zest for the filling later on). Place the juice, almond extract, ¼ tsp salt and 2 tsp of unrefined cane sugar (if desired) into a large measuring jug. Mix together, dissolving the salt and sugar.

Place the margarine, flour, ground almonds and xanthan gum into a food processor (or large mixing bowl if you do not own one). Pulse until the texture is similar to fine breadcrumbs and comes together. Tip: Alternatively mix the mixture with your hands or a large fork until the same texture is produced. Pour the orange juice mixture into the food processor. Process until combined; the mixture will be quite chunky, but not dry (if yours is dry add 1-2 tsp of cold water). Tip: You will have to use a spatula to help remove some of the mixture from the sides of the container as you process it, back down into the centre as it has a tendency to ‘bunch up’.

 

 

Transfer the dough onto a clean work surface. Divide it into three portions. Roll into balls. Place each ball onto a sheet of kitchen film; wrap and seal. Flatten each ball into a disc. Transfer into the fridge and refrigerate for 30 mins. Tip: Refrigerating the dough will help make it ‘firmer’ and easier to work with. 

 

 

In the meantime, prepare the filling. Wash the cranberries in a colander. Wash, peel, remove the core and then dice the apple. Juice the satsuma.

 

Next, place a non-stick pot over a medium-low heat. Add the wine and sugar. Stir together. It will start to simmer quite quickly, when this happens add the cranberries, apple, satsuma juice, dried fruit, orange zest, spices, sweetener, vanilla paste and almond (or lemon) extract into the pot. Stir to thoroughly combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cover with a lid. Cook for 20 mins, allowing the flavours to meld, the cranberries to burst and soften and the mixture to slightly thicken. Remove from the heat. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Leave the lid ajar and allow it to cool.

 

 

Meanwhile, grease or line a mince pie or standard muffin tin with a little oil or margarine or a liner. On a clean, floured surface place one disc of pastry (leave the remaining pastry in the fridge until you are ready to use it). Gently knead and soften it with your hands for a minute. Roll it out to a ¼ cm thickness. Use a small tumbler or something suitable for the size of your tin to stamp out 16 discs. Tip: Measure the top of your tin with a small glass to make sure it is not too big or too small; it should be roughly the same size as the tin.

Gently press each pastry disc between your fingers (slightly stretching it) before placing it into the base of the tin. Gently press and shape it into the base. Tip: Use a little pastry to patch up any tears of holes that might appear (this is OK!). Repeat until all sixteen discs have been placed.

 

Heat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Roll out the remaining dough to a 1/8cm thickness and then cut out the shapes to top your pies- we opted for modern stars!

 

Fill ease pie case with  about 1 heaped dessert teaspoon of pie filling. Place the top shape over the filling. Gently press and seal the edges. Tip: If you are completely covering the top of your pies, pierce it with a fork a few times to allow the steam to escape whilst it’s baking!

Some of these are overfilled! We had to scoop a little out to make sure the lids attached!

 

 

We baked the remainder in this silicone muffin case; we wouldn’t recommend it as they do not bake as well!

 

 

Place the tin onto the middle oven shelf. Bake for 12-16 mins or until lightly browned around the edges and firm. Remove and transfer onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool slightly before eating. NB: We cooked ours for 18 mins- but this was too long (the pastry was a little hard… but it’s nothing that a little oat cream won’t fix)! We’ll try 13-15 mins next time and then leave the pies in the tins for 3-5 mins once they’re removed from the oven.

Enjoy!

 

Store in an air-tight and resealable container and consume within one week. Alternatively, wrap and store them in an air-tight and resealable container; defrost, reheat and consume within 1-2 months.

 

Nutritional Info (approx. per pie w/o sugar added to the pastry):
175kcal, 1.7g protein, 24.5g CHO, 8g Sugar, 7.2g Fat, 1.3g S/fat, 1.2g Fibre, 0.3g Salt
**Recipe updated: 19/02/16
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Gingerbread Men [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Yields: 36-38 cookies*
Serves: 30
Prep: 10 mins
Chilling Time: 45 mins- overnight
Cooking Time: 7-13 mins
Type: Dessert
Tools: Small dish and fork, food processor, silicone spatula, large mixing bowl, wooden spoon, kitchen film, baking trays, parchment paper, rolling pin, cookie cutters, cooling racks

Notes

Christmas doesn’t need to be complicated, especially when it comes to enjoying some free from goodies! So we’ve gone and created a simple and tasty gingerbread recipe (vegan & gluten free) that anyone can throw together with ease!

Perfectly ginger and fantastic for those that love a one-bowl recipe! Well, technically it’s two bowls (or one bowl and a food processor!); we’ve advised to premix the dry ingredients (separately) to ensure everything is thoroughly combined; no nasty lumps of baking soda please! 

The dough is great for ‘cookie-cutter cookies’ and is best suited for cookies ¼ cm thick; if you roll the dough out thicker or thinner, adjust the baking times accordingly! *We managed to roll and stamp out: two large cookies, seventeen medium cookies and fifteen small ones! 🙂

It’s good to note that a quarter of the dough makes about eight to ten cookies and you shouldn’t need more than three baking trays to bake them. We’d recommend baking them for slightly longer if you prefer a harder/crisper cookie (we baked ours for eight minutes) and to place a dish of water at the base of your oven to prevent the top surfaces of your cookies from extreme cracking! This is a tip that we acquired last year after producing some really ugly cookies (haha)! One last nugget of baking wisdom- everyone should listen to some Christmas music whilst making these! #neverbakeinabadmood (…Your cookies will taste terrible!) 

Watch this space as we’ll be providing you with a few more Christmas recipes over the next week!

Happy baking everyone! 😀

 

Ingredients

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

Prepare the ‘flax eggs’! Place 16g flaxseed and 6 tbsp of water into a small dish or bowl. Stir to combine. Leave to rest for 5mins.

Very gelatinous after 5 mins!

 

 

  • Meanwhile, place the margarine and sugar into a food processor (or use a mixing bowl if you do not own one). Cream together; pulse the food processor or (if using the traditional method) use a large wooden spoon or spatula. Add the date syrup, cream and vanilla paste. Process (or mix) until combined. Tip: the mixture might look curdled, especially if your margarine is not as room temperature, but this is OK!
  • Add the flax eggs into the food processors pour spout whilst it’s still running. Process until combined.

 

 

Place the flour, ground almonds, baking soda and powder, xanthan gum, ground ginger, cinnamon cloves and nutmeg into a separate mixing bowl. Add a pinch of salt. Mix until thoroughly combined.

 

 

  • Spoon in the flour mixture into the food processor’s pouring spout (with the machine still running), a little at a time until the mixture comes together and is thoroughly combined.
  • Carefully remove and transfer the dough onto a sheet of kitchen film. Wrap and seal. Place into the fridge and refrigerate for 45 mins (or overnight if preferred). Tip: the dough will ‘firm up’ and is easier to use once refrigerated. 

 

 

When you are ready to roll and cut out the cookies, preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF.  Line 2-3 baking trays with a sheet of parchment paper.

 

On a clean, floured surface, place 1/4 of the dough. Re-wrap the remaining dough and place it back into the fridge to help stop it from drying out. Knead the dough slightly and then gently roll it out until its ¼ cm thick. Cut out your gingerbread men or any preferred shapes! Tip: use a palate or large knife to gently loosen any ‘stuck’ pieces of dough from your counter surface.

 

 

Transfer the shapes onto the baking trays leaving at least a 1 cm gap in between the cookies. Tip: If you have thick and thin cookies, try to keep them on two separate trays to have cooking ease! Place the trays onto the middle and lower oven shelves. Bake for 7- 13 mins, depending upon on how hard you want your cookies! Tip: Place a large-ish oven proof dish with water at the bottom of your oven just before baking to help prevent the top surface of your cookies from cracking!

 

 

Remove the trays from the oven. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking trays for 5 mins (they will continue to ‘firm up’). Transfer onto cooling racks. Allow to cool for further 10 mins before eating; they will continue to firm up as they cool.

 

Enjoy!

 

Store the cookies in an air-tight and resealable container and consume within 5-7 days. Alternatively wrap in some kitchen film and freeze in an air-tight and resealable kitchen ‘baggie’ or plastic container; defrost and consume within 4-6 wks.

 

Nutritional info/(approx. for 30 servings): 97 Kcal, 1.2g Protein, 15g CHO, 5.3g sugar, 3.6g Fat, 0.7g S/Fat, 0.1g Salt
NB: 1 Serving is approx: 2 small cookies, 1 medium or 1/2 a large.

 

**Recipe updated: 19/02/16