I'm in full-on, super-charged, top-speed, flat-strap, hyper-drive, warp-speed Christmas baking mode. And it's all powered by sugar and coffee.
Mince Pies with Brown Sugar and Spice Pastry
slightly adapted from Donna Hay
For the Fruit Mince:
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated
100g flaked almonds
Zest and juice of an orange (I used a blood orange.)
80ml maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
90g light brown sugar
60g unsalted butter, chopped
80ml butterscotch schnapps
For the Brown Sugar and Spice Pastry:
400g plain flour
300g unsalted butter, chopped
90g light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, lightly beaten, or brushing
White sugar for sprinkling
Icing sugar for dusting
Make the Pastry:
Put the flour, sugar, butter and spices into the bowl of a food processor and blitz until it resembles course breadcrumbs. Add the eggs and vanilla and process again until a dough forms. Tip the mixture out onto a floured work surface and bring it together into a ball. Divide the dough in half and generously dust 4 sheets of baking paper with flour. Roll out each piece of dough between two sheets of baking paper until it's 5mm thick. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C and grease patty pan tins. I have 6-hole tins.
Make the Fruit Mince:
Place all the fruit mince ingredients into a medium saucepan and cook over a medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring regularly, until the fruit has softened and has taken up most of the liquid.
Assemble the Pies:
Use a 7cm round cookie cutter to cut 24 round from the dough. Push the dough into the prepared pans. Re-roll the remaining pastry between two generously floured sheets of baking paper until 5mm thick and chill for 15 minutes.
Spoon the fruit mince into the pastry cases and brush the edges with the beaten egg. Using a 7cm fluted cookie cutter, cut out 24 rounds from the dough. Using a 1cm piping nozzle, make a hole in the centre of each round. Top the pies with the pastry tops, gently pressing the edges together to seal. Brush the tops with the remaining egg, sprinkle with white sugar and bake for 25 - 30 minutes and lightly golden brown. Leave the pies to cool in the tins for 5 minutes before turning out. Cool completely in wire racks. Dust with icing sugar before serving.