I love a good mince pie as much as the next Christmas crazy person. Deep filled, puff pastry, shortcrust pastry, iced topped, lattice – there are so many varieties using lots of different pastries that sometimes you are just looking for something a little, well different. I have two fantastic recipes for alternative mince pies that I will share over two posts that don’t use pastry, take a look at my first one below.
Mince Pie Cupcakes
I first made these many years ago when I first got into baking and wanted a special Christmas flavour so decided to experiment with these; I had no idea that they would be this tasty and I have family asking me to make them every year. These are best served with a nice dollop of brandy butter cream and a homemade shortbread biscuit. Please read through the recipe before making them as there are 3 different methods to making these so you need to pick which you want to do.
Cupcakes (makes 12)
4 oz (125g) Self Raising Flour
4 oz (125g) Caster Sugar
4oz (125g) Butter Margarine
2 Medium Eggs, separated
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Splash of milk (sorry, this is a personal recipe and I just add a splash)
12 Teaspoons of Mincemeat
Preheat oven to 160oC Fan (180oC or Gas Mark 4), place 12 cupcake cases into a cake tin.
Combine the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add both egg yolks and the vanilla and mix.
Add the flour and mix until combined, add the splash of milk mixing again.
Whisk the egg whites (using a clean whisk) until they are white and fluffy (soft peak), fold the egg white into the batter carefully – I do it this way as it makes for a really light sponge so you need to be careful not to knock the air out.
Separate into the cupcake cases and bake for 10-15 minutes – I normally check at 12. The sponge should just be colouring and spring back if pressed gently (or insert a cocktail stick and it should come out clean).
When baked leave them in the tin for 10 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
Further up I said there was three methods for these so you need to choose which one you want to go with, all three are how you add the mincemeat to the cupcakes.
The first (and easiest) is to just put all 12 teaspoons of the mincemeat into the batter before cooking – you can add it at any point BEFORE you fold in the egg white, I recommend either just before or just after the flour.
The second method is to add a teaspoon of the mincemeat to each cupcake just before cooking. Add ¾ of the mixture to each case, place the mincemeat in the middle and cover with the remaining ¼ of the mix then bake as instructed.
The third method is to warm up the mincemeat in a pan (to cook the suet) and allow to cool. Carefully cut a cone out of the middle of each cupcake when cooled and add the mincemeat to the hole; you can replace the cake if you wish as you will be covering it with buttercream anyway.
All three methods taste fantastic, it really is up to you which method you choose – the first method distributes the flavour across the cupcake so is a little more subtle whereas the second and third are more like mince pies as you get a mouthful of the mincemeat.
100g of Butter – use BUTTER not margarine, not Utterly Butterly, not I can’t believe it’s not butter. They contain buttermilk which won’t make a successful buttercream.
100g Trex – this is key to a light buttercream, it is the one thing I am praised about more than anything for my cupcakes and I used to sell them.
400g of Icing Sugar
Brandy – how much depends on your personal taste – brandy flavouring is ok if you want them alcohol free.
Milk – quantity depends, no more than 100ml.
Cream the butter and Trex together until completely combined and light.
Add icing sugar a few spoonful’s at a time (through a sieve so there are no lumps), keep going and by the time you have added it all you mix should be similar to breadcrumbs.
Add a couple of teaspoons of brandy to the mix and combine, if you want a bigger hit of brandy add a couple more.
Then add the milk a splash at a time, mixing in between each splash. You want your mix to be pipe-able but not runny.
Either pipe using a piping bag and nozzle or take a spoon and apply a large dollop of buttercream to each cupcake; I suppose it depends how neat you’d like them to look.
You can use any recipe you like for these, if you have a favourite then use that. If you don’t then here is a simple one;
4oz (125g) Butter
2oz (55g) Caster Sugar, plus extra to finish
6oz (180g) Plain Flour
Preheat oven to 170oC Fan (190oC or Gas Mark 5)
Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth
Stir in the flour to get a smooth paste, turn out onto a work surface and roll out gently until paste is 1cm thick (½in).
Cut out required shape using a cookie cutter, making sure it isn’t wider than the cupcake – I like stars or Christmas themed shapes for mine. Place onto a baking tray and sprinkle with caster sugar. Chill in the fridge for 20 mins.
Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until pale golden-brown. Leave to cool on a wire rack – they will harden as they cool.
Place on top of buttercream and serve.
I hope you like these as something completely different but extremely tasty to serve as alternative mince pies this Christmas. Let me know if you give them a go, I’d love to see them or if you have any questions then leave them below.
Just to let you know that I have NEVER shared this recipe with anyone before, or my baking method so you guys are special.