Lorraine Pascale shows us some great party food from her new book A Lighter Way To Bake.
These light bites are made from filo pastry and the mincemeat filling has fresh fruit to replace some of the dried fruit (fresh fruit has a lot less sugar than dried does).
Makes 12 mince pies
Makes 12 mince pies
12 sheets of filo pastry, defrosted
1 egg, lightly beaten
Icing sugar for dusting (optional)
For the filling:
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1cm chunks
1 perfectly ripe pear, peeled, cored and cut into 1cm chunks
100ml apple juice
75g dried cranberries
50g pecan nuts, finely chopped
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
Big pinch of ground cloves
Big pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Seeds of 1 vanilla pod
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
1cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and very finely chopped
A few twists of cracked black pepper
3 tbsp cider, Calvados, rum or brandy (optional)
To serve (optional):
200g low-fat Greek yogurt
50g icing sugar, sifted
Seeds of 1 vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 180°C, (Fan 160°C), 350°F, Gas Mark 4. Place a baking sheet into the oven to heat up. This will give extra bottom heat to the pies so that the bases cook through and are not soggy. Grease a 12-hole muffin tin with a little spray oil and set aside.
Put all of the filling ingredients and the alcohol (if using) into a medium pan over a medium heat. Allow to cook gently, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until the apples begin to soften. Then remove from the heat and leave the mixture to sit and infuse while you make the pastry cases.
Lay the sheets of filo pastry out on top of each other and cut them in half across the width. Then cut each half into quarters to give eight stacks of about 12cm squares of filo. I find scissors really handy to cut these out, but a sharp knife will do.
Line each hole of the muffin tin with three squares of filo. I like to take a square at a time and press it into the hole, each one slightly staggered from the previous so the resulting pastry case edge looks like a kind of star. Make sure to push the pastry down so it is in the corners of each muffin hole. Keep any filo not being worked on under a lightly dampened tea towel so that it doesn’t dry out. After lining the tin, you should still be left with 12 squares of filo, which you can reserve under the damp tea towel for now.
Spray each stack in the tin with a little oil and bake in the oven for 6–8 minutes until crisp and pale golden. Then, divide the filling evenly among the cases.
Next, take the remaining squares of filo, scrunch each one up lightly and place one on top of each pie so that it looks like a scrunched-up tissue. Brush them lightly with the beaten egg.
Pop in the oven on the heated baking sheet for 10–12 minutes or until the pies are crisp and golden.
While they are baking, prepare the yogurt for serving, if using: gently mix together the yogurt, icing sugar and vanilla in a bowl. Cover and set aside in the fridge until ready to use.
Once ready, remove the pies from the oven, dust with a little icing sugar (if using) and serve with a dollop of the yogurt, if you like.