Recipe by Sara Matthews | @sarabynatureskitchen
‘My family and especially my other half love mince pies, well, anything that contains mincemeat to be honest and last year my mincemeat crumble slice was a huge hit (recipe below). To the point I was making it on request a couple of times a week, it became my gift as we attended friends and family over the festive season. But for those with restricted diets finding good shop bought mincemeat can be a challenge.
Traditionally mince pies contained meat and not the best meat, so spices and fruit were added along with spirits to add flavour and the dish became more of a sweet rather than savoury dish. Now-a-days the shop bought mincemeat uses vegetable shortening rather than beef suet, but I wanted to make a version that doesn’t use as much fat or added refined sugars it also needed to be totally plant based. I decided to make my own with the fruit that I liked, as I am not keen on candied fruit peel and almost every jar of mincemeat I picked up in the store contained it. So, thinking cap on a little research and to the kitchen to have a play and see what I could come up with. Because I wasn’t going to be using the suet I needed to make sure the mincemeat stayed nice and moist, so I decided to use chopped apples in its place which would break down whilst cooking and medjool dates. After a few attempts I have a mincemeat I love, we can all eat and best of all got a thumb’s up from the family. The recipe is below, feel free like myself to change the ratio or choices of dried fruits.’
Makes 2 x 500ml jars
2 large oranges zest and juice
2 tbsp maple syrup
Zest unwaxed lemon
5 medjool dates ( you can use other dates but these are the best as they are
still beautiful and soft and full of flavour)
400g mixed fruit of your choice I used (80g raisins, 80g currants, 80g sultanas, 80g dried cranberries – to add a sharpness and festive flavour, 80g dried apricots-choppped
1½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp nutmeg
1½ tsp mixed spice
¼ tsp ground cloves
2 tbsp Brandy
Place all the ingredients into a large pan and heat on a low heat until apples are soft, the fruit has plumped, and the liquid has almost been absorbed by the fruit. Stir occasionally. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little. Transfer the mix to a food processor and pulse until you have your desired consistency. Decant into clean jars. This can be used immediately or stored until needed. If you make this in advance and store the flavours infuse more and become more intense. Decanted in pretty jars along with a recipe for mince pies or mincemeat crumble slice make a fabulous ‘homemade with love’ Christmas gift for a budding baker in the family.
Mincemeat Crumble Slice
A great alternative to mince pies. Quick and easy to make and super delicious. Use either store bought mincemeat or make your own.
25g flaked toasted almonds
300g gluten-free plain flour
100g coconut sugar (or substitute for brown sugar)
4 tbsp maple syrup
400g jar of mincemeat (gluten-free & vegan) or make your own
Pre-heat the oven to 180°c. Line a baking tray with parchment.
Place the ground almonds, flour, sugar into a food processor and pulse to combine.
Add the nut butter, (chef tip- warm the nut butter before adding to make it easier to combine),
Add 2 tbsp maple syrup. Whizz to combine. This mix will look like sticky breadcrumbs. Remove 120g of the mix and set aside. Add the remaining 2 tbsp of maple syrup to the food processor and whizz until the mixture starts to bind together.
Tip into your prepared baking tray. Press down with the back of a spoon to level the surface. (chef tip- wet your spoon so the mixture does not stick)
Over your base spread your mincemeat.
Mix the toasted almonds to your reserved flour mixture. This should be quite a lumpy mix.
Sprinkle this over your mincemeat to create the crumble topping. Bake for 45-50 minutes. You may need to cover your bake with foil to stop the crumble mix from burning. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before slicing into 12 fingers.