Not everybody likes mince pies, so I wanted to make something that could be an alternative to them. Something very much like mince pies, but at the same time not. I came up with these cherry and cranberry pies, which are a delicious substitute for when you’re having guests over. These are also vegan and gluten-free, so everybody can enjoy them. This recipe makes quite a lot, so you can always half it if you don’t want so many. Just so you know, all of mine went within 24 hours.
Prep time: 20 minutes. Cooking time: 35 minutes for the filling, plus 15-20 minutes per batch for the pies. Resting time: about 1 hour.
Makes about 40
For the Pastry:
300g buckwheat flour
200g coconut flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp xantham gum
½ tsp salt
75g golden caster sugar
300g vegan margarine, plus a little extra for greasing
200-250ml dairy-free milk (make sure it’s gluten-free)
For the Filling:
700g frozen cherries
300g fresh cranberries
400g golden caster sugar
Zest of 2 oranges
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp marmalade
Plant milk for brushing
Icing sugar for dusting
First make the pastry. Put the flours, baking powder, xantham gum, salt, sugar and margarine into a large mixing bowl and rub together between your fingers, until the texture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the plant milk, 50ml at a time, and stir with a knife or spoon. Put in enough milk to be able to bring it all together as a dough (between 200 and 250ml). When you have your pastry dough ball, cover and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
Now make your pie filling. Put all the ingredients into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer, stirring from time to time, for 30-35 minutes, until you have a thick, jam-like consistency. Turn off the heat and allow to completely cool and thicken up.
When you are ready, preheat the oven to gas 6/200C/400F and grease a 12-hole pie tin, the same kind you would use for mince pies (see video).
Break off about a third of the pastry dough and roll it out on a gluten-free floured surface (I used the buckwheat flour for this). Take a circular cookie cutter and either a smaller star cutter or a smaller circular cutter. Use the larger circular cutter to cut out the pastry bases and line each hole in the tin with them. You will have to roll out the pastry several times to do this. Now fill the pastry bases with about 2 tsp of pie filling. Use the smaller cutter to cut out a top for the pie and place these on top of each one.
Brush the top of each pie with plant milk and then place in the oven for 15-20 minutes or so, until the pastry is cooked and browned. Allow them to cool for a few minutes and then use a spoon to take them out of the tin and onto a serving plate.
Prepare and cook your next batches in the same manner, until you have used up either all the filling or all the pastry.
If you have filling left over, keep it in the fridge as it will make a great alternative cranberry sauce.
Once all the pies have cooled, dust with the icing sugar and serve.