Mince pie season has to be one of the best times for me; I try to eat one a day during December. After missing out last year, this year I’ll be working hard to visit as many bakeries as possible to sample theirs. When mince pies fill you with so much joy, it’s such a disappointment to be sat at the table only to find out that your mates don’t feel the same way about raisins and dried fruit. I’ve got a few like this – they’ll scoop out the filling and eat only the pastry. It makes me sad, so I thought something should be done. This is my take on an alternative mince pie for friends who don’t like them.
Sherry apple pies
Prep 1 hr
Chill 4 hr 35 min
Cook 40 min
For the pastry
110g caster sugar
260g plain flour
A pinch of fine salt
125g cold unsalted butter, cubed
For the filling
430g peeled and cored bramley apples, diced
120g golden caster sugar
¼ tsp cinnamon
20ml sweet sherry
2 heaped tbsp cornflour
Softened butter, for greasing
Demerara sugar, for sprinkling
For the pastry, put all the dry ingredients in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer/food processor and mix well. Add the butter, mix until breadcrumbs form, then add the egg and a splash of water, and mix again until a dough forms; add another splash of water, if need be. Knead gently until smooth, then shape into a disc, wrap tightly and refrigerate for four hours
Put the apples, sugar and cinnamon in a saucepan, stir and cook over a low-medium heat for about 10 minutes, until the apples turn translucent while still keeping their shape and the sugar dissolves. Add the sherry, then use a slotted spoon to transfer the fruit to a large bowl and leave to cool a little.
Meanwhile, whisk the cornflour into the remaining appley liquid in the pan until there are no lumps, then pour into the cooked apples, stir to coat the fruit in the cornflour mixture, then leave to cool completely.
To assemble the pies, generously grease nine muffin holes in a deep muffin tray, and chill for 15 minutes.
Gently knead the chilled pastry, then roll it to about 4-5mm thick. Cut out nine 10cm discs for the bases and nine 6cm discs for the lids, re-rolling the scraps as needed.
Press the larger pastry circles into the muffin tin moulds, making sure there are no holes. Spoon in the apple mixture, filling the cases up to ½cm from the top. Pop on the lids and fold over the edges to seal the pies. Chill for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the oven to 190C (170 fan)/375F/gas 5. Pierce the top of each pie with a knife, sprinkle with demerara sugar and bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden.
Remove from the oven, leave to cool for 15 minutes, then carefully unmould and eat warm or at room temperature.
Fiona Beckett’s drinks match These pies have got sherry in them, so it makes sense to drink sherry with them – cream sherry, for preference. Waitrose No. 1 Rich Cream Sherry (£11.99 a full-size bottle, 20%), which is made by top sherry producer Lustau, would be perfect.