You’re bound to want lots of fruit mince, so this recipe makes enough for a few batches of pies. It keeps in the fridge for several months, or you can preserve it in sterilised jars. For me, wholemeal pastry perfectly complements the sweetness of the fruit mince. Because I like the filling more than the pastry, I just put a star on top instead of a lid, but you can put lids on the pies if you prefer.
2 medium apples (250 g) peeled, cored and chopped into ½ cm (1/4”) cubes
1/3 cup (80 ml) oil
2 ½ cups (400 g) raisins, sultanas and currants in roughly equal proportions
2/3 cup (100 g) dried apricots, chopped
¾ cup (150 g) brown sugar
zest and juice of 1 orange and 1 large lemon
1/3 cup (50 g) almonds, blanched, roasted and chopped coarsely (p. XX)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp ground cardamom
1 teaspoons mixed spice
1 ½ cups (200 g) wholemeal flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup (100 g) dairy-free spread
5–7 tablespoons (75–100 ml) water
Oven: 170 °C/325 °F/Gas 3
12-cup shallow tart or tin, ungreased.
Soak almonds in boiling water for a couple of minutes. Remove and slip off their skins. Roast in the oven at 170° C for 7 to 10 minutes, until light brown. Cool and chop coarsely. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl and stir thoroughly. Cover and leave the mixture overnight.
Next day, heat the oven to 120° C/225 ° F/Gas ¼. Place the mincemeat in an ovenproof bowl, seal with foil and allow to cook slowly for 2½ hours. Cool.
For the pastry, sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Put back any bran flakes in the sieve and mix in. Rub in the fat until it resembles bread crumbs. As different wholemeal flours absorb water differently, you’ll have to use your judgement as to how much water to add. First, try sprinkling five tablespoons onto the flour. Then use your hands to bring the pastry together. If there are dry bits which look like they aren’t sticking together, sprinkle a little more water on, until the flour comes easily together into a moist, springy dough. It’s better to be a little too sticky at this stage than too dry because the bran will absorb more water as the pastry rests. Cover and chill for half an hour or so before using.
Preheat the oven to 170° C/325° F /Gas 3. Roll out the pastry and cut 12 circles with a 7 cm (3”) cookie cutter to line the tart tin. Cut 12 small stars with a star-shaped cutter. Line each depression of the tin, put a big spoonful of fruit mince in the tart and top with a star.