The first time I made fruit mince pies was nine years ago. Its amazing how this blog is kind of like the story book of my life over the last decade. I had forgotten that I made them at my Mums request (aka blatant hinting) and that the recipe had estimated a yield of 24 pies but ended up being closer to 60! That meant I had plenty to bring to the annual Sydney Food Bloggers Picnic, where I offered one to Dena and she became one of my best friends to this day. The original recipe is still up in the archives! The photos are a little cringe-worthy, but the trip down memory lane was so worth it.
Before making them from scratch, I didnt even like fruit mince pies. But that all changed when I stirred together dried fruit, spices and booze. I was surprised that I couldnt keep my spoon out of the bowl! I ate one warm from the oven and never looked back.
This year, I think I have done even better! Everyone who has tried one so far has said they are the best fruit mince pies they have ever had me included! They are much better than any store-bought version and I had so much fun making them.
Now lets talk about the filling. I wanted to use the dried fruit that I already had on hand. I rummaged through the pantry and found sultanas, cranberries, dates and dried apricots. A good start. The thing I like about recipes like this is that you can definitely adapt it to use your favourite fruit or what you have in the cupboard. Dried cherries, figs or plums would be great too! As long as the combined total weight is about the same, you can use any ratio of fruit.
In addition to the usual spice suspects cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg I also added Chinese five spice which contains star anise, cloves, fennel, pepper and yet more cinnamon. I also used freshly grated ginger for a zing that really worked nicely. Instead of dried mixed peel, I added fresh lemon zest.
I used my favourite vanilla pastry, which has never failed me for fruit pies and tarts. The biscuity texture was just perfect with these pies. If nothing else, save this post for the pastry recipe. It is a dream to work with even for delicate lattice crusts. It comes together in minutes in the food processor and bakes up golden brown and beautiful every time.
You can definitely make the fruit mince mixture a few days ahead and leave it in the fridge to infuse. But in keeping with the theme of Last Minute Christmas Recipes, I only let it sit for an hour, and it was still absolutely delicious.
I feel like booze can make or break a Christmas dessert. I never liked the brandy-laden traditional Christmas fruitcake. I think the most important thing is to use what you like! In the original recipe I used port but this time I went with a nice spiced rum that I love to drink. You can also use whisky, dessert wine, stout or muscat. If you prefer not to use alcohol, you can use orange juice or even black tea!
You know how much I love a good crumble topping on cakes or pies and its no different here. I loved the hint of cinnamon and their slightly rustic appearance. I made them in a muffin tray and got nine extra large pies, piled high with fruit mince and crumble. Depending on the size of your tray you could get 12 or 24. Theyre also delicious warm from the oven with a scoop of ice cream, or at room temperature. They would make seriously excellent homemade Christmas gifts!
Related Post: No Churn Christmas Pudding Bombe Alaska
Fruit Mince Crumble Pies
- 225 g plain flour
- 60 g pure icing sugar, sifted
- 112 g cold butter, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 3-4 tablespoons iced water
Fruit Mince Filling
- 200 g sultanas
- 100 g dried cranberries
- 80 g dates, de-seeded and chopped
- 80 g dried apricots or peaches, finely chopped
- 150 g brown sugar
- 1 apple, grated
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon Chinese five spice (or mixed spice)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger, fresh
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 50 g butter, melted
- 30 ml spiced rum (see note)
- cup sugar
- cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup plain flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 55 g butter, softened
To make the vanilla pastry, combine flour, icing sugar and a pinch of salt in a food processor. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add 3-4 tablespoons iced water and vanilla extract and pulse until mixture just combines. Turn onto a lightly floured surface, form into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Roll out the pastry to about 3mm thick and cut out circles. I used 9cm circles for my large muffin tin. Repeat until you have used all the pastry. This pastry re-rolls very nicely. Just place it back in the fridge for a few minutes if it becomes too warm. Place the tray in the fridge until ready to use.
Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Divide the fruit mince mixture evenly between the pastry cases.
To make the crumble, combine the sugar, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter. Rub butter into the mixture with your fingertips. Spread evenly over top of the fruit mince pies.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, rotating at the halfway point, until pastry and crumble are golden brown. Allow to cool completely in the tray and then remove. Store in an air-tight container for up to 1 week.