Monday, December 12, 2011

Fruit Mince Pie Pops

This year I've been completely addicted to fruit mince pies. I have had one pie pretty much every day since the start of December and I don't plan on stopping until they disappear from the shelves. It's a strange addiction, considering that I only started liking them as an adult; as a child I was freaked out by the whole 'mince' part until I realised that most fruit mince these days doesn't actually include meat like it used to. Now I can't get enough of them and I was determined to try and make my own fruit mince this year.
I'm not sure how familiar overseas readers are with fruit mince pies, but if you're not then this might be a good way of introducing yourself to them. I did a fun adaptation of them into cute mini Christmas tree-shaped poptarts on sticks. I've been wanting to make mini poptarts on sticks ever since seeing these cuties on the family kitchen. So incredibly cute. So I made them Christmas themed by being tree-shaped and filled with my own homemade fruit mince mixture. I based the poptart pastry recipe on the homemade apple pie poptarts I made recently, it's such an easy to make and easy to handle pastry recipe. The result? These cute little pastries on popsicle sticks made of thin, buttery pastry and filled with beautifully spiced dried fruits. The pastry was a tad fiddly to seal up with all the points on the christmas tree shapes, so I wasn't able to fill them up as much as I would have liked. Next time I'm going to have to get a bigger cookie cutter so I can fill them up with lots of fruit mince.
Even though I've never made fruit mince before, it was relatively simple. I basically just chopped everything up and mixed it together in a bowl and let it absorb all the delicious spices and booze for a couple of days. I had a little fun adding some of my favourite dried fruits, with some glace ginger and dried sour cherries (they both really feel Christmassy to me). The recipe is loosely based on Lisa's fruit mince, which I remembered enjoying at a Christmas picnic. I was really happy with how my fruit mince turned out, it's so lovely, aromatic and rich with flavour that I know I'll never be able to use pre-made fruit mince again (though I've only used it once when I feeling extremely lazy). I decided to skip any glaze on the top of the poptarts, going with the usual cinnamon sugar sprinkle, but they would look really cute with a simple icing glaze too. These really would make the perfect little nibbly treat at a Christmas party or picnic. And if you're not a fruit mince fan, you could try filling them with my apple pie filling, or maybe some candy cane chocolate sauce?
Fruit Mince Pie Pops
(adapted from my apple pie pop tart recipe, makes approx 30 mini pie pops)
For the fruit mince:
(You can use any fruit mince you prefer, mine is adapted from spicyicecream's, you will end up with lots leftover!)
130g dark brown sugar
150g sultanas
100g currants
25g dried dates, diced
25g dried figs, diced
25g prunes, diced
50g glaced mixed peel
1 Granny Smith apple (or any other baking apple), finely grated
Optional: 30g glace ginger finely chopped, 30g dried sour cherries, finely chopped (or any other dried fruit you prefer)
50ml port, brandy or muscat (I used port)
50g unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp mixed spice
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground or freshly grated nutmeg

For the pastry:
2 cups plain flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
225g unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes
1 large egg
2 tbsp milk
1 large egg, for brushing the dough
2 tbsp white sugar + 1/4 tsp cinnamon to sprinkle
Popsicle sticks

Prepare the fruit mince in advance; combine all the fruit mince ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine. Place in a sterilised container/jar and refrigerate for at 24 hours, the longer the better.
For the pastry, in the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, sugar and salt. Add the cold butter and pulse until only pea sized lumps remain in your mixture. In a small bowl, beat the egg with the milk. Add the mixture all at once to the dry ingredients and pulse until moisture is introduced to all of the flour mixture. Lightly dust a clean surface with flour and knead the dough until it starts to hold together. Divide the dough in two, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Remove one piece of dough from the refrigerator. On a well floured surface, roll the dough out to 3mm thick (it can sometimes be easier to roll between two sheets of baking paper). Use a Christmas tree shaped cookie cutter, or using a knife and a stencil, cut out Christmas tree shapes. Make sure they are not too small or you won't be able to put much filling in them. Alternatively you can cut out small rectangles, and adjust the size to your preference. Place half of the cutouts evenly spaced on three baking paper lined trays, leaving enough space for the popsicle sticks. Brush with beaten egg and then place a popsicle stick into the middle of each one. Place about 1 tsp of fruit mince filling in the middle of each and then gently press a second pieces of pastry cutout over the top and carefully press down on the edges with your fingertips or a fork. Make sure not to leave any big gaps or it will leak. Use the tines of the fork to create vent holes in each tart. Brush with more beaten egg and then sprinkle a pinch of the sugar/cinnamon mixture on the top. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Let the tarts rest in the fridge while the oven preheats. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top. Cool completely on a wire rack and store in an airtight container. Best eaten fresh and still warm but should last a couple days in an airtight container, and warmed slightly before eating.
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  1. Such a great (and yummy) idea! Lovely :D

  2. So cute! I had no idea mince didn't include meat. I was afraid to try it before, but I bet it's delicious now that I've spent time reading the ingredients. Yum!

  3. For someone like me who isn't a fan of fruit mince, these are perfect! So much more yummy pastry to filling ratio AND easy to eat on sticks.

  4. you're right, everything is better on sticks. also, i really like trees.

  5. I'm definitely not a mince pie fan but filling them with your candy cane choc syrup - hello! that sounds amazing! and I love the little christmas tree cutters you used for them - sooo cute!

  6. Love these! Im not a massive fruit mince pie person but these are so fab! Anythign tastes better on a stick ;)

  7. Such a gorgeous idea! I made fruit mince tarts one year and working with the pastry was so tricky but you make it look so easy :)

  8. Mince pies are absolutely everywhere in the UK so it's funny to think of people not knowing what they are! Maybe it takes someone from outside the UK to come up with such an inventive new take on them though - these look awesome! Love the festive tree shapes, and anything on a stick is ace!

  9. OMG What a great idea!! They look amazing and I cant think of a better POP

  10. So cute! I love that you call it fruit mince instead of mincemeat :P

    Also, am intrigued that you don't cook your mincemeat before using it - it's quite a different recipe actually - with the figs, prunes, port, no citrus etc. My recipe is if you're interested.

  11. Emma - Yep I think my version is pretty much the farthest away from the traditional recipe as you can get! Though I notice a lot of Australian recipes don't cook the mince

  12. My husband would love these. He is a huge fan of mincement and would love the novelty of your pops. This is my first visit to your site, so I spent some time browsing through your earlier posts. I'm so glad I did that. I really like the food and recipes you share with your readers and I'll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  13. These look like fun:)
    I have never tried fruit mince before. I imagine it is like a fruit cake but in mince form?

  14. What an amazing idea! This could be the new trend, food on sticks! Thanks for sharing


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