Vanilla Zulu Orange, Pistachio and Vanilla Christmas Mince Pies with Spun Sugar Bling - Chef Recipe by Melanie Townsend

Vanilla Zulu Orange, Pistachio and Vanilla Christmas Mince Pies with Spun Sugar Bling - Chef Recipe by Melanie Townsend


Tart Shell:

180 g plain flour
60 g almond meal, toasted
110 g sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
140 g cold butter, chopped
Zest of one orange
2 Tbs pistachios (no shell)


1 jar Christmas mince mix
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 pinch nutmeg
1 pinch cloves
1 pinch cinnamon
1/2 cup toasted pistachio nuts

Spun Sugar:

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water


Tart Shell:

This is the easiest pastry to make. You can also make it by hand, use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour and then stir in the remaining ingredients. A food processor is super easy and will only take one minute.

Place all ingredients in a food processor and combine until the mixture comes together like a soft ball.

Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Press pastry into tart cases and trim, bake in a moderate oven (170 C) for 10 minutes until just slightly browned. While still hot shape with the back of a soup spoon so the base is flat. Allow to cool.

Chef’s Note: Rolling out pastry can be stressful, so this recipe is designed just to be pressed into a baking tin or silicone and steel tart shells. Use your fingers to help shape the dough into the cases or large tin, use a flat item such as a bowl to help with the bigger areas you need to press down. I also don’t blind bake, but you can if you always do, I simply press the pastry shell down with the back of a spoon as I grab it out of the oven.


Add vanilla and spices to store bought fruit mince to give it more personality and add to cooled cases.

Top with a dollop of vanilla scented cream and spun sugar.

Spun Sugar:

Dissolve sugar and water together in a frying pan. Boil hot and fast until caramel and brown in colour. While the sugar is boiling, get a large baking sheet or ceramic tile and coat with Canola spray.

When sugar is a nice colour, remove from heat. Plunge two forks into it and move back and forth until the sugar starts making threads.

Let threads fall onto the greased surface, taking care not to burn yourself. Keep using a new spot every time you reload the forks with more caramel sugar.

The threads can be stored in a zip lock bag in the fridge or freezer if you want to make this in advance.

Recipe provided by Vanilla Zulu Culinary Adventures - Cooking School

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