I haven’t always liked mince pies, but since going dairy free they have become a Christmas favourite - partly because they’re one of the few holiday treats that you can find commercially dairy free versions that aren’t in the “free-from” section.
I think this is partly because you don’t lose much in the way of flavour by removing the butter.
However, those mince pies you find on the shelves are packed with sugar. I find this strange as raisins and currants are already so packed with natural sugars that you really don’t need the added sugar. I think the sugar is there more as a filler than to bring any additional sweetness.
If you check the ingredients on most mince pie packages you will see sugar listed first - that means that in most mince pies you are buying there is more cane sugar than there are raisins, sultanas or currants!
So this is my own mince meat filling without any added sugar and it’s absolutely delicious, incredibly easy to make and makes a holiday treat much healthier.
I use fresh oranges rather than preserved orange peel. It’s much easier to get hold of a few oranges than it is to find preserved orange peel, and the juice is higher in calcium than the peel anyway, so much better for dairy free diets.
Orange peel does have some nutritional value (and I do use the zest from the fresh peels). The peels have vitamins A, C and calcium as well as antioxidants. However, the peel is where pesticides are and they can be hard to remove, so either buy organic if you can or wash them well with water and a bit of vinegar to remove the pesticides before zesting.
Healthy Mince Meat
Makes: ~2 cups - enough for 12 very deep filled mince pies or 24 shallow
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
¾ cup sultanas
¾ cup currants
1 cup raisins
2 large oranges (zest and juice)
½ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon nutmeg
Peel and grate the apples
Zest and juice the oranges
Combine all of the ingredients in a pot and bring to the boil
Simmer for ~15 minutes until all the raisins are plump and most of the liquid is absorbed
Leave to cool before using or put in a jar and store in the fridge
I like to use sultanas, raisins and currants to give different textures and sizes to the mince meat, but you can substitute any of these for any of the others if you don’t have them all
If you put the finished mince meat in a sterilised container it will keep for two weeks in the fridge
I use store-bought short-crust pastry to make my mince pies - most of the brands that don’t say “all butter” are dairy free - and if you’re making the mince meat from scratch you deserve to cut corners somewhere in my mind!