Vegan Mince Pies
These sweet and crisp vegan mince pies are simple to make, can be made with or without alcohol and require a lot less work than you’d think. The sweet and deeply spiced filling comes together in one pot, is left to sit for a day to develop in flavour and then baked in a buttery vegan shortcrust pastry. If you’re in a mince pie mood but want to mix things up, head here for a chocolate mince pie recipe - trust us, it works.
The filling for these vegan mince pies is made up of a total of around 400g of dried fruit - and uses a combination of cranberries, sultanas, currants, mixed peel, apricots and cherries - but you can use any combination of dried fruit as long as it adds up to the same weight. In terms of the alcohol here, you have a few options. The first option, which is the one used in this recipe, consists of adding it all the start and cooking it down with the fruit. This option is ideal if you’re after a milder alcohol flavour and if you have less time to let your filling sit. The second option is adding half at the start, and the remaining half at the end once the fruit has cooked. This option is best if you’re after a stronger alcohol flavour in your mince meat and/or if you’re looking to store the filling at room temperature for a month before using it in mince pies. The last option is to omit the alcohol entirely, and to substitute it for an equal amount of orange juice. This is the ideal option if you’re making mince pies for kids or aren’t a fan of alcohol in desserts. If you’re omitting the alcohol entirely, make sure to store your filling in the fridge (and only for a few days at most) as it won’t preserve at room temperature without the alcohol.
The pastry here is made in a food processor. As much as I try to avoid using kitchen equipment where possible, I do find that it makes life infinitely easier when making pastry - and shortcrust pastry in particular - and is worth the washing up. It works the plant based butter into the flour evenly and distributes the liquid quickly, without melting the butter, which I find typically happens when working the dough by hand. If you don’t have a food processor however, or want to avoid using it, you can make the dough without one, by working the butter into the flour with a fork until it comes together. Although it will take slightly longer, it will have similar crisp results.
45 mins (+chilling)
200g apple, peeled and very finely chopped
70g dried cranberries
70g dried sultanas
70g dried currants
50g mixed peel, finely chopped
70g dried apricots, finely chopped
70g candied cherries, finely chopped
60g light brown sugar
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
3 tbsp plant based butter
1 orange, juiced
125ml port or brandy
170g plain flour
30g icing sugar
¼ tsp salt
115g plant based butter block, cold
3 tbsp plant based milk, cold
1 tbsp plant based milk
2 tbsp demerara sugar
Start by making the filling. In a large saucepan set over medium heat, combine the chopped apple, dried fruit, light brown sugar, spices, salt, orange juice, and port and stir to combine.
Cook the mixture for 35-40 minutes, stirring often, until all of the liquid has reduced, the apple pieces have broken down and the dried fruit is soft. Transfer the mixture to a container and let it sit for at least 24 hours hours.
Once the mincemeat is ready, prepare the pastry. Add the flour, icing sugar and salt to a food processor and pulse to combine. Next, cube the butter and add it to the processor. Mix the butter into the flour for 1-2 minutes, until the butter has completely broken down and incorporated into the flour.
With the mixer running, add 3 tbsp plant based milk. Mix until a dough comes together. Transfer the dough onto a sheet of cling film or parchment paper, form it into a disc and wrap it up. Transfer the dough into the fridge and let it sit for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 175˚C fan/195˚C conventional. Invert a baking tray and place it onto the middle shelf of the oven - this will help achieve crispy mince pies bases.
Once the dough has rested, transfer it onto a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out, until it’s roughly ½ cm thick.
Use a cookie cutter that’s slightly larger than the size of each mince pie case/hole to punch out 12 rounds which will be the mince pie bases. Collect the scraps of dough, form them into a disc and wrap them up. Place the dough in the fridge for 10 minutes - this will make it easier to roll it out.
In the meantime, place one round into each mince pie case, and use your fingers to gently press it into the bottom and sides of the case. Fill each mince pie case with around 1 tbsp of filling, or enough to evenly fill each case.
Remove the dough from the fridge and transfer it onto a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll it out again, until it’s roughly ½ cm thick. If you want to cover your mince pies, use a cookie cutter that’s around 1cm smaller than the previous one, to punch out 12 rounds. If you want to top them with a star, use a star shape cutter to cut out 12 stars.
Place the shapes you’ve cut out onto the filling. Use your fingers to gently press them down along the sides, to seal them to the bases.
Use a pastry brush to brush the mince pies with the plant based milk, then sprinkle them with the demerara sugar.
Transfer the mince pies into the oven and bake them for 25-28 minutes, until golden brown and bubbling.
Let them cool for 10 minutes, then run a knife through the edges of each mince pie. Next, use a knife or offset spatula to carefully lift each from its case and transfer them onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Serve the mince pies plain or topped with icing sugar.
by Valentina Concordia
Valentina is our Food Creative, who dreams up our tasty dishes and recipes for our social channels. She has loads of experience cooking up a storm in Italian kitchens, so it’s no surprise she can’t live without good-quality olive oil (don’t come between her and her olive oil) and fresh pasta.