I’ll admit I was skeptical about these mince pies, to say the least. I’ve had regular mince pies, I even made some last year. So, I kind of know what mincemeat pies are supposed to be like. They’re buttery and sugary and quite boozy. So, naturally when I stumbled upon this recipe that uses no butter, no sugar and no alcohol at all, I wasn’t at all convinced. But we hosted a dinner for some of our friends that are either vegan or keeping fast and I decided to make these mince pies for dessert.
What surprised me most about these mince pies is that they turned out so tasty, flavourful and delicious. All of the spices mix so nicely with the dried fruit, the sweetness of the apples and everything pairs perfectly with the biscuit-like crust. I expected them to be somewhat of a compromise, a far cry from the original dessert, and they were nothing but. These mince pies are so good they’ll have you exclaiming you can’t believe they’re vegan or sugar-free, for that matter.
Another thing that pleasantly surprised me was how nice the dough came out of the food processor. Since it’s only made of almonds, dates, coconut oil and water, I really wouldn’t have thought it would turn out to be a dough that’s so easy to roll and cut into shapes.
As for the filling, it’s really easy to make as well, since you only have to simmer a couple of dried fruits, two chopped apples, some orange juice and coconut oil on the stove top. The baking process is not hard at all and these pies take a short time in the oven. So, whether you’re vegan, fasting or just want to try a new twist on mince pies, I think you should definitely try these out. And you can always add a splash of Port to the pan with the filling.
Vegan Mince Pies
For the crust
400g/2 cups ground almonds
90ml/6 Tblsp of coconut oil
60ml/4 Tblsp water
20 dates, pitted
For the mince
2 apples, peeled, cored and cut into small cubes
1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
100g dried cranberries (unsweetened)
Juice from 6 small tangerines or 2 large oranges
15ml/1 Tblsp coconut oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
Start by making the mince. Place the apple cubes in a saucepan, add the vanilla seeds, then all the remaining ingredients and stir everything together over low heat. Let the mince simmer for about 25-30 minutes, until apples are soft. Mix with a wooden spoon from time to time to prevent it from sticking to the bottom.
While the mince cooks, make the crust. Place all the crust ingredients together in a food processor and blend until everything comes together into a dough. Sprinkle flour over a surface and roll the mix out until it’s 0.5 cm/0.25 in. thick. With a round pastry cutter or the rim of a large glass, cut out 8 discs of pastry of about 5 cm/2 in. diameter. Press the pastry into the muffin tins or cups and pop in the oven for 8 minutes, after which you need to take them out and allow them to cool while the mince mix finishes cooking. Cut the remaining mixture into shapes (I did stars) that will go on top of the pies.
Once the mince has cooked start assembling the pies. Add 2 heaped teaspoons of mince into each pie, place a star over the center and pop bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, watching them closely after the first 10 minutes, so that they don’t burn. Once baked, allow to cool for 15-20 minutes, then serve and enjoy!
*Recipe adapted from Deliciously Ella
‘s cooking app, it’s where I turn to when I want to make fool-proof vegan, sugar-free or gluten-free recipes.