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    Thursday
    Dec162010

    Fruit Mince Pies & What is a Currant?

                                   Christmas Fruit Mince Pie Pops

     

    Fragrant and sweet, it's had to go anywhere in Australia at Christmas without spotting fruit mince pies. From your local bakery to the supermarket chains you'll see lines of the small pies that are synonymous with Christmas. It easy to make your own, they taste yummier & you can leave out the mixed peel (preserved citrus peel) or add more! 

    Get ready to "scroll" because today we have a recipe for Grand Marnier and Cranberry Fruit Mince, making pie pops and mini pies, variations, other uses for fruit mince plus "what exactly is a currant?"....

    The basic fruit mince mix contains;

    1. Sultanas (dried grapes, most commonly Thompson Seedless or Menindee Seedless grape varieties)

    2. Currants  Not to confused with black or red currants, currants are actually a grape (dried grapes, most commonly Zante/Black Corinth). If you read say a British recipe for 'currant buns' this is the currants to use.

    3. Raisins  (dried grapes that are seeded, most commonly Waltham Cross or Muscat Gordo Blanco)

    Sultanas, currants and raisins are often described in cookbooks as 'vine fruits'. If you come across the term 'mixed fruit' in a recipe it is usually a pre-mix of sultanas, currants, raisins, glace cherries and mixed peel. 

    4. Craisins Sweetened dried cranberries. "Craisins" is a brand name trademarked to Ocean Spray Cranberries. 

      Grand Marnier and Cranberry Fruit Mince

    The fruit mince can be made up to six months in advance, but a day or two before hand is fine too. 

    Ingredients

    2 large or 3 medium Granny Smith apples

    1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

    300g (10.5 oz) sultanas

    300g (10.5 oz) raisins, roughly chopped

    350g (12.5 oz) currants 

    250g (9 oz) craisins, roughly chopped

    200g (7 oz) light brown sugar

    2 tablespoons orange marmalade (sieved to remove peel)

    3 teaspoons of orange zest

    1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg

    2/3 cup Grand Marnier or Orange liqueur of choice 

    175g unsalted butter (melted and cooled) Suet was used originally in fruit mince & you could still use it now instead of the butter if preferred. 

    Method

    Peel and grate the apples into a large glass or ceramic bowl, mix in the orange juice to prevent the grated apple from discolouring. Add all the remaining ingredients and give it a good stir. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and leave overnight. 

    Christmas Fruit Mince Pie Pops 

    12 pops (there will fruit mince leftover)

    15cm (6 inch) lollipop sticks or thick skewers/icy pole sticks

    large star cookie cutter

    3 to 4 frozen short-crust pastry sheets (we are using commercial pastry for the pops because it has a firmness/elasticity that can't be reproduced with homemade pastry... in other words "it won't fall off the stick!!")

    2 egg yolks for glazing

    You will need room in your freezer or fridge to accommodate the short chilling time of star filled baking trays. 

    Baking trays lined with non stick paper. 

    Wrap your lollipop sticks with foil.... about two thirds the way up the stick, this will prevent the sticks from scorching. 

    Defrost your pastry sheets (12 to 15 minutes), roll pastry a little thinner if needed. Cut out your pastry stars, place three stars on each baking tray, position the stick on the pastry star. The stick must reach at least half way across the pastry star. 

    Put a generous glob of fruit mince in the centre of the pastry... you don't want a mouthful of "just pastry" when you bite into it. 

    Brush egg white or beaten egg yolk around the edge of the stars, top with a pastry star and seal gently but firmly. Sealing well will prevent oozing sugary syrup.

    Then take a fork and press around the edge of the entire star.  

    Glaze the pastry with beaten egg yolks, refrigerate for 3 minutes, then glaze again. Sprinkle with sugar if desired.

    Pre heat your oven to 190C (375F)

    Transfer your baking trays to the freezer and chill for 10 minutes. Bake pops for 12 to 15 minutes depending on the size of the stars you made. 

    Cool entirely on trays. Pops may be frozen or stored in a sealed container for up to three days. 

    Scraps... Making mini pies; 

    You will have pastry scraps leftover from your stars, pastry can be rolled once more and rounds cut from it to make mini pies. Don't attempt to roll scraps yet another time, the pastry will shrink, toughen and not be palatable. And you could of course use your favourite tartlet pastry recipe to make the pies.

    Pre heat oven to 200C (390F) Glaze pies and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in tin/mould. Completed pies can be frozen up to 1 month or sealed an in airtight container for up to three days.

    Mini pie filling waiting for top pastry

    Baked small fruit mince pies

    Variations on fruit mince;

    Add a cup of toasted slivered almonds to the Grand Marnier & Cranberry fruit mince

    Replace cranberries with dried cherries and Grand Marnier with Kirsch. 

    Add 1/4 cup mixed peel.

    Replace cranberries with chopped figs or dried apricots. 

    Add 1/2 cup of finely chopped dark chocolate to the Grand Marnier and Cranberry fruit mince

    Or go beyond a "variation" and scrap the fruit mince altogether replace it with cherry pie filling... with rosé perhaps and a little cinnamon, yum!! 

    What Else????

    Stir 1/2 cup fruit mince through muffin batter

    Mix fruit mince into softened homemade or store bought vanilla or chocolate ice-cream, add chopped dark chocolate and pour into a plastic wrap lined pudding bowl. Freeze and unmould your ice-cream pudding just before serving. 

    Fold fruit mince through chocolate truffle mixture, roll into balls and then into cocoa.

    Remove the centre of a baked cupcake, fill with fruit mince, trim the "plug piece" and reseal the cupcake. Ice with white glace icing and sprinkle with Christmas sprinkles.

    Fold through plain yoghurt and top your Christmas brekkie muesli or granola with a blob. 

    Also makes a great biscuit/cookie filling or mix with cooked apple and fill a crepe.

    All the best wishes for the Christmas season. Happy Baking :)  

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    Reader Comments (2)

    So glad you're back baking and blogging, we have missed you at All Things Cupcake.

    December 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRach

    Hi Rach.... thank you :) I wish I was back full time, but I'll post as much as I can before my return in August 2011. Thank you for your support.... wishing you a Happy New Year!!

    December 26, 2010 | Registered CommenterThe Lone Baker

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