Christmas is a magical time of year. For some, it’s also an excuse to totally ditch the regular diet and exercise routines. And, although it’s tempting in the moment to over-indulge, it’s an annual tradition your waistline (and digestive system) could probably do without!
Research shows that adults will eat an extra 2,410 calories a day over Christmas, with many eating a whopping 4,350-calorie roast dinner on the big day itself. Rich puddings and cakes, bottomless tins of chocolates, roasties and bubbles can see some people put on 2lbs between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day.
I want to show you that it is possible to be healthy and still enjoy some Christmas treats! Here is my recipe for gluten-free mince pies, let me know what you think...
For the filling:
1 large apple, like Braeburn, Gala
75g golden sultanas
65g dried, unsweetened cranberries
60g other dried fruit (sour cherries, blueberries, mango, apricots
– dried but unsweetened)
Zest and juice of an orange
50g coconut palm sugar
4 tbsp organic butter, cubed
1⁄2 tsp cinnamon
1⁄2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tbsp brandy (optional)
For the pastry:
150g of almond flour/ground almonds
75g of coconut flour
1 tbsp coconut palm sugar
1⁄2 tsp baking soda
1⁄2 tsp sea salt
zest of an orange
115g butter, frozen
(plus a little extra for greasing)
1 egg, lightly whisked
Pre-heat the oven to 175 ̊C, then put the almond and coconut flours in a bowl with the sugar, baking soda and salt.
Stir in the orange zest, then grate the frozen butter into the flour and mix together with your fingers till a crumb forms.
Stir in the egg and bring together the mix with your hands to form a dough.
Divide the dough in half; wrap each in film and place in the fridge for 1 hour (or overnight).
Grease the moulds of a muffin pan with a little butter.
Remove the dough from the fridge and place between 2 sheets of baking/ greaseproof paper. Roll with a rolling pin to flatten out the dough until it is pie-crust thin.
To make the filling put all of the filling ingredients (other than the brandy) into a large saucepan over medium heat and stir. When the butter is fully melted, turn the heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring often.
Take the saucepan off the heat and stir through a tablespoon of brandy, and decant into sterilized glass jars.
Leave to cool with the lid slightly ajar, then secure tightly and store until required.
Using a biscuit cutter (or an upturned jam jar – needs to be about 8cm diameter),
cut out 25 circles and lightly press into the muffin pan moulds. The pastry can be
tricky to work with, as there is no gluten holding it together. Be patient. If the pastry splits just push it back together with your fingers and use any pastry scraps to fix it up.
Fill up each pie mould with a heaped teaspoon of mincemeat. Using the remainder of the dough, cut out 25 stars to top each pie.
Bake in the oven for 12 minutes. Leave to cool in the tins, before gently easing them out. Don’t be temped to remove from the tin when they come out of the oven – they WILL fall apart if you do this!