Mince Pie Streusel Bars

I’ve had a jar of homemade mincemeat hanging about, since last Christmas in fact, waiting to be used up. There has been so much going on that I haven’t had a chance to whip up a batch of mince pies. But the other night I saw Mary Berry (surely a real icon of the Christmas baking world) make a delicious sounding mincemeat streusel, and it sounded like the perfect way to use up my mincemeat before the Christmas season is over for another year.

I have to say, thank you Mary, it’s a real winner of a recipe – a short pastry/shortbread style base, topped with generous proportions of mincemeat and topped with a crunchy streusel layer – somehow a bit more exciting and appealing than a simple pie and one I imagine I’ll be repeating often. My version is – it goes without saying – friendly, and has the addition of a bit of spice here and there. Well, you can’t really have Christmas without a few wintery spices. If there’s any left by Tuesday evening we’ll be leaving one out for Father Christmas this year (I’ll let you know if he likes it!)

Mince Pie Streusel Bars (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, peanut-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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makes about 15 bars

For the base:

  • 1 1/3 cups/175g plain flour
  • 2 tbsps icing sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup/100g dairy-free spread
  • 1 or 2 tbsps water

For the filling:

For the topping:

  • 1/4/50g cup dairy-free spread, melted
  • 3/4 cup/100g self-raising flour
  • 1/4 cup/50g caster sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

– Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade/Gas mark 6

– Line a swiss-roll/brownie tin with baking parchment

– In a bowl, mix together the plain flour, cinnamon and icing sugar

– Rub in the dairy-free spread, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs

– Add the water (1/2 tbsp at a time) and bring together to s a soft dough.

– Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge

– In another bowl mix together the self-raising flour, caster sugar and cinnamon.

– Pour in the melted spread and combine until it looks like crumble. This may require crushing the bigger lumps into finer crumbs. Set aside.

– Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out to fit the tin, including slightly up the sides.

– Smother the lined tin with an even layer of mincemeat (adjust the amount depending on taste)

– Sprinkle the streusel crumbs evenly on top.

– Bake for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through (with no soggy bottom, as Mary would say!)

– Cool on a wire rack.

– Sprinkle with icing sugar and cut into even sized bars.

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Nut-free Homemade Mincemeat

You can certainly tell that Christmas is just around the corner – this week we’ve got a Nativity play, a Christmas party, a carol service and a Christmas market to attend. Little S is making mince pies at school next week and we had some difficulty finding a nice nut-free mincemeat that she could use, which is of course the perfect excuse to make some. Adding some brandy would be the traditional thing to do, but since this was to use at school on a class of 5 and 6 year olds, I used apple juice.

Ideally it should ‘mature’ for at least two weeks before using so this batch will be ready just in time for this Christmas, or very ready for next year!

Homemade Mincemeat (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, sesame-free, soya-free, vegetarian and vegan) warning: to ensure gluten-free, check the vegetable suet pack to make sure it doesn’t contain wheat flour

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makes 2 jars

  • 1 cooking apple
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 200g vegetable suet
  • pinch of salt
  • 50g mixed peel
  • 110g currants
  • 200g sultanas
  • 450g dark muscovado sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple juice or brandy

– Core, or cut in half the cooking apple and bake for 30 minutes until the flesh is soft and pulpy

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– Wash and sterilise the glass jars

– Mash the apple in a large bowl and add all the other ingredients. Mix well.

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– Spoon into the jars, cover the top with a waxed disk and seal.

– Preferably keep for at least two weeks before using.

– Will happily keep for a year in a cool, dark cupboard.