So in case you haven’t noticed (although you probably did months ago when every shop decided it was acceptable to bring Buble back) it’s getting pretty close to Christmas. However I have decided to stand out from the crowd and (drum roll please) post Christmas recipes for the whole of December! I’m not normally a huge Christmas person as I only tend to start thinking about it a week or so before and while this is true in most cases this year, I must admit it is hard not to get excited about the food! Although nothing can really beat Christmas dinner, you can never underestimate a good Christmas cake or, in this case, mince pie.
However, as the title suggests these aren’t mince pies quite as you would expect them. Although the tweaks I have made could be considered in many ways blasphemous, I promise they are not only tasty, but also a lot healthier! I know for a fact that Christmas food isn’t about being healthy, so that in itself could be considered a crime. But while I am not intentionally trying to ruin mince pies, I don’t think it would hurt to maybe stave off a few of the calories before the real deal comes around, especially since operation diet is still ongoing in the Myers household and I need to come up with something I don’t have to eat all by myself. And, as I said, they are still pretty yummy.
I adapted the recipe from a traybake at work which used dates or figs as the filling, so although this recipe isn’t hugely different it definitely does bear some resemblance to everyone’s favourite tart at Christmas (so many puns, so little time). Simply replace some of the filling with mincemeat ingredients (without the suet) whack in some brandy and job done! It even has potential as a vegan alternative (not that I 100% condone that kind of behaviour but each to their own!). However you do have to like the almond flavour; since you use ground almonds as a substitute for the pastry it isn’t too dissimilar to wrapping mincemeat in marzipan. But if that sounds good to you then you’ve come to the right place! As I said they are really yummy, really easy and fairly healthy. Although the almond flavour is strong, you still get the lovely warmth from the filling that can at least curb your cravings until the day (or week before the day). Either way I hope you enjoy!
P.s. My dad has officially branded these the best things I have ever made so definitely worth a shot (cue smug face).
Mince Pie Swirls
- 75g sultanas
- 75g dates
- 50g mixed peel
- 1 tbsp brandy
- 1 tbsp orange juice
- 100g ground almonds
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- Icing sugar, for dusting
- Put the dried fruit, brandy and orange juice in a food processor and blitz until it starts to form a paste. Remove from the processor and set aside.
- Put the almonds, maple syrup and vanilla essence in the food processor and blitz again until it becomes a dough.
- Lay down some clingfilm on a clean work surface and tip the dough out. Lightly dust a rolling pin with icing sugar and roll out into a rectangle.
- Spread the fruit mix on top and roll into a log. Cut into slices and chill.