Eat the Seasons

December

In season this month

Fruits & Nuts
Apples (Egremont, Russet, Blenheim Orange, Orleans Reinette), Chestnuts, Clementines, Cranberries, Pears, Satsumas, Tangerines

Vegetables & Herbs
Beetroot, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Celeriac, Celery, Chicory, Jerusalem Artichokes, Kale, Leeks, Parsnips, Potatoes, Pumpkins, Red Cabbage, Sweed, Turnips

Meat & Game
Duck, Goose, Grouse, Guinea Fowl, Hare, Partridge, Pheasant, Rabbit, Venison, Wood Pigeon

Fish & Shellfish
Brill, Clams, Haddock, Halibut, Hake, John Dory, Lemon Sole, Monkfish, Mussels, Oysters (Native & Rock), Plaice, Scallops, Sea Bass, Turbot

Filo Pastry Mince Pies
Makes 12 

Ingredients – for the mincemeat

  • 3 Granny Smiths (or other tart eating apples), peeled, cored and cut into 1cm / ½” chunks
  • 1 ripe pear, peeled, cored and cut into 1cm / ½” chunks
  • 100g / 3½oz raisins
  • 100ml / 3½fl oz apple juice
  • 75g / 2¾oz dried cranberries
  • 50g / 1¾oz pecan nuts finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • Big pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out
  • 1 orange, zest only, finely grated
  • 1cm / ½in piece fresh ginger, very finely chopped
  • A few twists cracked black pepper
  • 3 tbsp cider, calvados, rum or brandy (optional)

For the pies

  • Vegetable oil, in a spray bottle
  • 12 sheets filo pastry
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten (alternatively use a little melted butter or vegetable oil)
  • Icing sugar for dusting
  1. Preheat the oven to 1800C / 1600C(fan) / 3500F / Gas 4.
  2. Place a baking tray into the oven to heat up – this helps to stop your pies having a soggy base!
  3. Grease a 12-hole muffin tin with a little spray oil and set aside.
  4. Put all the mincemeat ingredients into a saucepan over a medium heat and allow to cook gently, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes or until the apples begin to soften.
  5. Remove from the heat and leave the mixture to infuse while you make the pies.
  6. Lay the sheets of filo pastry out on top of each other and cut them in stacks to make 12cm / 4½” squares of filo. Keep any filo not being worked on under a damp tea towel so that it doesn’t dry out.
  7. Line each hole of the muffin tin with three squares of filo. Take a square at a time and press it into the hole, each one slightly turned so the pastry case edges look like a star. Make sure to push the pastry down so it goes right down to the bottom and sides of each muffin hole.
  8. After lining the tin, you should be left with 12 squares of filo – reserve these under a damp tea towel for now.
  9. Spray each stack in the tin with a little oil and bake in the oven for five minutes until crisp and pale golden. Then divide the filling evenly among the cases.
  10. Take the remaining squares of filo, scrunch each one up lightly and place one on top of each pie so that it looks like a scrunched-up tissue. Brush them lightly with beaten egg or melted butter.
  11. Place in the oven on top of the heated baking sheet for 8-10 minutes or until the pies are crisp and golden.
  12. Once ready, remove the pies from the oven and dust with a little icing sugar!

Enjoy!

You can email Suzanne with any comments or questions at info@suzannejames.co.uk