An alternative recipe to my classic mince pies, it contains no nuts in the mincemeat or almonds in the pastry dough.
I never used to like mince pies until I made them at home. The fact is that all shop-bought pies, even the posh, fancy, Hestonised and overpriced numbers taste mainly of too much orange peel and too much booze. As much as I’m the last person to complain about too much booze, I like to keep it separate from cakes. And orange peel is usually nasty, unless you make it yourself (I don’t) or spend quite a bit more money than even Waitrose Cook’s Ingredients charge.
So the second worst move from buying mince pies is to buy your mincemeat in a jar. I really don’t understand what people do with it - unless they buy readymade shortcrust as well and cheat all the way. Otherwise it doesn’t make sense: pastry is relatively difficult to get right, what with butter cold or softened, dough coming together or not, chilling to just the right temperature. But mincemeat - that’s a doddle. Even if you stir together whatever dried fruit you have at home and add a banana or an apple to hold it together, it will still be better than the stuff in the jar.
This makes rather lovely filling - nut free but full of fruit. It also has no butter which might make the pies more appealing to those who still believe low-fat is good.
The pastry is delightful, the only thing is it’s hellishly difficult to roll out, so do what I did: chill, soften, chill. The pastry needs to set in the fridge, then warm up a bit to roll it, then chill again before baking - and you’ll have the loveliest, melting and not too short pastry filled with delightful, fruity mince!