Skip this paragraph if you’re British for I’m about to explain what a mince pie is. It seems like an odd thing to do for me as it’s such a common festive food in the UK that I dare say there isn’t a Brit who doesn’t come into contact with this sweet little pie on a regular basis throughout December, but if you’re from lands afar and not so familiar with the mince pie, then let me fill you in. This festive little pie is small and sweet and is eaten during the Christmas period. Mince pies are classically made using shortcrust pastry and have a rich filling made up of dried fruits and spices.
Traditional mince pies are seriously lacking in the nutritional stakes so we have taken on the challenge of creating a healthier mince pie and by golly we did it! These non-traditional little gems may not look very much like a mince pie as you know it but they have all the flavour and richness (if not more!) of a classic mince pie. Our mince pies are vegan, gluten free and made without sugar. All the sweetness comes from the fruit only. We’ve also included a superfood in the filling – chia seeds! If that’s not enough our mince pies are also really quick and simple to make.
Raisins and currants are a key ingredient in the classic mince pie but we think they are the Marmite of dried fruits and know many who don’t like them at all (Mara being one), so our mince pies give you the option to add them or leave them out depending on personal preference. They are not a key ingredient at all. Hooray for the raisin haters out there who can finally enjoy a mince pie!
We decided to bake our pie shell but if you like to enjoy the nutritional benefits of the raw life then this recipe is easily adapted to be enjoyed raw. Just follow the instructions at the end.
For the pie shells:
- 1 cup/100g of nuts (We used walnut and almond. If you’re planning on making a raw crust, it’s better to soak your nuts overnight)
- ½ cup/60g of dried cranberries
- 1 cup/130g of dates (medjool always best)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp of ginger powder
- a grating of nutmeg (about ½ tsp)
- pinch of salt
For the filling:
- 4 tbsp of chia seeds
- 100ml of liquid (we used half water and half coconut milk)
- 4 tbsp of applesauce with apple chunks (also known as apple puree and apple compote)
- 1 tsp of cinnamon
- ½ tsp of ground cloves
- ½ tsp of ground ginger
- ½ tsp of grated nutmeg
- 5-10 drops of orange extract (depending on taste)
- 2 tbsp of lemon juice
- tiny pinch of salt
- handful of raisins (optional extra)
- Place your chia seeds in a bowl with the 100ml of liquid, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/350 degrees Fahrenheit
- Grease a muffin tin with coconut oil
- Pulse the nuts in a food processor until chunky before adding the rest of the pie shell ingredients. Continue to pulse until you have a solid, sticky mass
- Press golf ball sized amounts of mixture into each cup, pressing the mixture up the sides to create individual shells, ready to be filled once baked
- Bake for 10 -12 minutes, remove from oven and allow to cool.
- To prepare the filling, add all of the remaining filling ingredients to the soaked chia seeds and stir until combined
- Carefully remove the pie shells from the muffin tin and fill with the chia mixture
- Top with a couple of dried cranberries and serve
Raw version: If you’re making the raw version – line your muffin tin with cling film before pressing mixture into the cups and then freeze for an hour or until hard before filling with the chia mixture.