Advisory: We are in no way professionals; in fact, I’d say we’re noobs at cooking/baking/food & drink making. So we’ll have our foibles, but we make the mistakes so that you don’t have to! Plus, if we can make it, so can you!
Here at 6 Nerdy Chicks, autumn makes us think of Lord of the Rings probably because we share the same voracious appetite and eating schedule as the Hobbitses. Of course, all sorts of dishes were mentioned by the hobbits, but mince pies just had such a nice fall ring to it! So, if you’re looking for a great treat to bring to your family this Thanksgiving, we’ve got you covered with this delicious take on a mini mince pie! If you’re looking for something savory, or more of a main dish, check out our Lord of The Ring’s Inspired Shire Pie!
If you’ve never had a mince pie, it would be easy to assume it was more akin to the chicken pot pie. Maybe at one point in history it had been; however, today it’s considered more of a dessert as it’s mainly filled with fruit!
Some Tips Before Starting
Just a few notes before we get started: remember to give yourself enough time to chill the dough. With this recipe, you can actually prepare the dough and the mince, and they’ll keep just fine in the fridge until you’re ready to bake the next day (which is what we ended up doing!) Also, this recipe will give you enough dough for about 24 mini tarts, but enough mince for about three times that amount. Since the mince is made up mainly of dried fruits, it will actually keep in the fridge in a tightly sealed container for about a month! So you can make the mince, then whip up the dough as needed throughout the holiday season; it’s perfect for all of those Holiday parties just around the corner!
Ingredients for the Mince:
*Divide by 3 if you’re only making 1 batch*
- 2 medium granny apples
- 4 cups of dried fruits of your choice (we used craisins, raisins, dried apricots, and a pre-mixed of bag of dried cherries and berries)
- 1 orange, zest
- 1 lemon, zest
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons English mixed spice (or 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon nutmeg, and ½ teaspoon allspice)
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup slivered almonds (or walnuts if preferred)
- ½ cup melted unsalted butter
- ¼ cup brandy (french brandy is recommended, but we used a mix of Spiced rum and fireball whiskey, and it was still fantastic! You could also opt for using the juice from the orange if you prefer)
Ingredients for the Dough:
- 2 cups flour
- Heaping ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- Approximately ½ cup of ice water
- Caster sugar (you could use regular sugar if you don’t have caster sugar)
Make that dough!
Step 1: Start by mixing the flour, salt, and butter in the food processor. Make sure it’s nice and mixed. You should end with a grainy texture since you don’t want big chunks of butter.
Step 2: Move the mixture to a bowl. Then, add a small amount of ice water, mix it into the dough, knead, and repeat until the dough is the right texture. It should come together nicely without being overly sticky. If it gets too sticky, you may need to add more flour.
Step 3: Split the dough in 2, wrap it in saran wrap, and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. If you leave yours overnight like we did, you’ll need to take it out of the fridge to warm up a bit, maybe about 15-20 minutes until it’s easier to work with.
Mince that fruit!
Step 4: Dice and core your apples. Then zest your orange and lemon. You should end up with about 1-2 teaspoons of each. Be careful not to dig in with your zest too much as the rind can be quite bitter; you just want the orange outside part!
Step 5: Mix 3 cups of the dried fruits, the diced apples, the orange and lemon zest, brown sugar, spices, and salt in the food processor. Process until minced but not pureed. *If you’re using whole walnuts, you’ll want to mix them in now. If your nuts are pre-chopped, wait until the next step.
Step 6: Add almonds and mix it in with the food processor, just enough to get them mixed in.
Step 7: Move your mince to a bowl and add 1 cup of dried fruits for texture. You’ll want to go with the smaller ones for this, such as raisins and craisins, as the larger ones like the dried apricots will be too big.
Step 8: Mix in your ¼ cup of preferred spicy liquor. We did a mixture of the rum, the fireball, and orange juice. If you prefer a more cinnamon flavor, using just the fireball would go great. We wanted that mix of other spices, so we mixed good ol’ Cap’n Morgan in with ours, and some OJ for good measure.
Step 9: Cover and move to the fridge until you’re ready to bake.
On Your Mark, Get Set, BAKE!
Step 10: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, roll out your dough to approximately ⅛ of an inch thick. Then, you’ll want to find something to cut out the circles that matches your tin. We used these small glasses because they were about an inch in diameter larger than our tins (you’ve got to account for the sides of the tarts!).
Step 11: Then, cut out your dough circles, and press them into the dish. We really couldn’t find a good “technique” for this, but what I found worked for me was sort of cupping the circles into a the tart shape, then placing them into the tin and pressing the sides out.
Step 12: Poke holes with a fork in the bottom of the dough to keep the dough from rising. Then, fill your tarts. You’ll want them to have a level top as they will rise a little bit after you bake them.
Step 13: Roll out your other ball of dough, and cut out shapes for your tops. Then, spritz the tops lightly with water and sprinkle the caster sugar on top. Then, place the tops onto your tart! We had these adorable acorn and leaf cookie cutters to cut our shapes out, but you can use any small cookie cutter for this. If you don’t have a cookie cutter and you’re doing mini tarts, you could forgo the top altogether! The filling is quite delicious (I was legitimately eating filling by itself with a spoon), so these would be just as delicious without the top.
Step 14: Bake at 400 degrees for about 20-22 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned. Then, serve, and enjoy!
The flavor of these really remind me of the holidays and of the fall and winter in general. And we’re sure they’ll be a hit at Friendsgiving! Be sure to let us know if you try these out by tagging us @6nerdychicks!