110g blanched almonds, finely chopped
2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and grated
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
150g unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup brandy or rum
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Finely grated zest of 2 oranges, and juice (approx 300 ml)
Pastry: makes approximately 24 cases
2 cups plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
185g unsalted butter, grated
1/4 cup caster sugar
2 egg yolks
1-2 Tbs lemon juice or cold water
1 cup of fruit mince (ingredients above, recipe below)
1 egg white, lightly beaten
Icing sugar, to dust
Make fruit mince filling at least two days early. Coarsely chop the sultanas, currant and raisins by pulsing a food processor in small batches. Add the fruit into a large container along with grated apple, chopped almonds, melted butter, brandy, orange juice, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon and orange zest. Stir well until all combined, cover and allow to marinate in the fridge for at least two days. Stir fruit mince every couple of days until needed.
To make the pastry shells, add the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Grate the butter over the top and rub it in using your fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.Stir in the sugar and egg yolks. If the mixture is still crumbly, add enough lemon juice or water to form a dough. Knead the dough together until smooth, split into two discs and cover them in plastic wrap. Chill disks in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before use.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Grease the muffin tin with non-stick spray. Cut 12 strips of baking paper and line each hole with one, leaving enough paper to hang over the edges.
Re-knead the dough, then roll out between two sheets of baking paper until 3.5cm thick. Cut rounds of dough and press into each muffin tin hole. If rounds don't come away cleanly from the paper, knead a little more flour in. Fill each to the top with fruit mince, being careful not to get any fruit on the sides of the tin.
Re-knead the scraps and cut 12 small stars with a cookie cutter or sharp knife. Place one on the top of the fruit mince and brush with egg white. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden.
Leave to cool completely in the pans before attempting to remove, as the pastry is crumbly and delicate when warm. Decorate with a dusting of icing sugar when ready to serve.
Fruit mince can make enough for 60 pies.