One of my favourite things to do in December is indulge in mince pies.
From about mid-September, the shops become stocked full of mince pies. But I always try to resist until the first day of advent - and then, I indulge. I go crazy, and I know that Teresa does too.
Both of us love nothing more than a rich, buttery, shortcrust pastry stuffed full of sweet filling. Better still when it's served warm with a dollop of brandy cream! There's just something immensely satisfying about a good mince pie, isn't there?
Anyway, our favourite festive treats got me wondering how I could create a healthy version, and whether or not it was even possible.
For weeks, I tried out mince pie recipes (I started in October - no lies) and I failed. And then...there was this.
Made gluten-free with a sweet cashew pastry (yep, cashews) and a sticky homemade mincemeat filling, these Secretly Healthy Mince Pies are topped with a low-carb cashew frosting. And, honestly, they taste insanely good- every last bit as good as they look.
If you like the look of these, then keep your eyes peeled for more healthy versions of your favourite Christmas treats. We're planning recipes for stollen, gingerbread and Christmas pudding energy bites as we type!
Sam and Teresa x
SECRETLY HEALTHY MINCE PIES
For the pastry:
1 cup cashews, soaked for 1-2 hours
1/2 cup almond flour
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp almond milk
For the filling:
1 cup dried mixed fruit
1 large apple, peeled and finely grated
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp fresh orange juice
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
For the frosting:
1/2 cup cashews, soaked for 1-2 hours
1.5 tbsp Lucy Bee coconut oil
2 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch sea salt
1) Preheat your oven to 180C, then line a muffin tray with cases. Start by blending together all the ingredients for the pastry in a food processor until well combined, then press the mixture down into the cases, lining the sides. Bake for 15 minutes, or until cooked. Set aside and leave to cool.
2) Next, make your filling by tipping the ingredients into a saucepan and heating on a low heat for around 15 minutes to let the flavours mingle, stirring often. If it starts to dry out, add a further splash of orange juice. Keep tasting to adjust the sweetness and spices for your own taste!
3) Once the filling has cooked, spoon into the mince pie pastry bases, then place back in the oven and bake for a further 5-10 minutes, or until the pastry is golden. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.
4) Now, make your icing by blending each of the ingredients in a high-powered blender until totally smooth. Spoon over your cooled case and filling, then decorate and serve, heating slightly if you want it warm. Enjoy!