Mince Pies

Mince Pies

Last December I was making the most of what I knew was likely to be my last gluten-filled Christmas. This year I am determined that going gluten-free will have as little impact as possible on my traditional Christmas treats. I used to buy lots of (mostly chocolate-based) treats and I’ve found a good substitute for most of these now. In many cases it just involved a change of brand (some supermarket orange flavour chocolate is gluten free, you just have to pretend it’s shaped like an orange) or a change of design  (I used to enjoy those Malteser reindeer chocolates  – it made me ridiculously happy the other day to discover that the Cadbury mousse-filled snowmen are gluten free!) and it has generally been pretty painless. Believe me, last December I thought that, from a food perspective, Christmas was effectively cancelled from 2016 onwards, so finding so many ready substitutes to satisfy my festive sweet tooth has been a brilliant surprise.

So, my attention has turned to the things we usually bake at Christmas. For me this means biscuits, sherry trifle, Christmas cake, Stollen and lots and lots of mince pies. I’m not usually organised enough to start my Christmas baking at the start of November but I’m expecting lots of set-backs this year so I thought I’d start early. For my first challenge I chose the food that I consider essential to a proper Christmas – mince pies. Unfortunately mince pies are made of pastry – the nemesis of our gluten free kitchen. Game on!

My mum and I made 2 batches of mince pies, one made with a basic supermarket gluten free flour and the other made with a flour mix. Both tasted nice and I’m still not sure which I prefer (they were supposed to be going in the freezer until December …. they never made it). The ones made with the basic flour looked more like normal mince pies but the flour had a high content of rice which gave them a gritty, dry texture. The ones made with the flour mix swelled up and looked seriously ugly, but had a nice soft texture. Rolled a bit thinner they’d probably be even better, although the pastry might be a bit harder to handle. Both recipes are below:

Equipment

Mixing bowl

Stand mixer / wooden spoon

A couple of patty tins

Flour Mix Recipe

Ingredients

225g gluten free flour mix

25g caster sugar

55g margarine

55g lard

1 egg

1 1/2 tbsp cold water

A jar of mincemeat

Method

  1. Mix half of the flour mix with the fats, sugar, egg and water. I used a stand mixer because I’m lazy but a wooden spoon and some elbow grease will do the job too.
  2. Once you have a smooth paste, mix in the rest of the flour mix and work it into a ball.
  3. Tip the dough onto a floured surface and knead for a minute. It was really sticky and so I needed a lot of flour for this.
  4. Wrap the dough in cling film and leave it in the fridge for at least half an hour. After half an hour the dough was manageable but it would be even better left longer, maybe even overnight.
  5. Remove the cling film and knead the dough again on a floured surface. Roll out to a few mm thickness and cut out circles with a biscuit cutter. I also cut out stars to put on the top.
  6. Put the circles in a patty tin, fill with a teaspoon (or a bit more) of mincemeat and put a star on top if you want to. I got 19 mince pies out of this but they were a bit thicker than I’ve recommended here.
  7. Bake for 15-20 mins on 170*C until golden brown.
  8. Allow to cool on a cooling tray.

Basic flour recipe

Ingredients

200g gluten free flour

25g caster sugar

50g margarine

50g lard

1 egg, beaten

A jar of mincemeat

Method

  1. Rub the fat into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  2. Stir in the sugar.
  3. Add the egg and mix with a knife or with your hands until it forms a ball.
  4. Add a little bit of cold water if it is really dry but be careful – a little goes a long way.
  5. Tip the dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth.
  6. Wrap the dough in cling film and leave it in the fridge for half an hour.
  7. Remove the cling film and knead the dough again on a floured surface. Roll out to a few mm thickness and cut out circles with a biscuit cutter. I also cut out stars to put on the top. This made 18 mince pies.
  8. Put the circles in a patty tin, fill with a teaspoon (or a bit more) of mincemeat and put a star on top if you want to.
  9. Bake for 10-15 mins on 170*C, until golden brown.
  10. Allow to cool on a cooling tray.
Coeliac foodie refusing to miss out on the things I used to enjoy eating. I share quick, easy and affordable recipes to help keep your diet varied, interesting and 100% gluten free, without sacrificing taste or breaking the bank. I also review products and restaurants that I find.

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