Mince Pies {Gluten & Dairy Free}

Wednesday 5 December 2018

Today's Christmas free-from recipe is another Christmas staple - mince pies. 

These are a current favourite of 5 year old Fraser's, who could easily tuck away at least 3 of these in a sitting.

For years gluten free pastry seemed to be my kryptonite. I love working with 'normal' pastry, and it's so simple to put together, but whenever I tried making a free from pastry I could never make one that would roll out without crumbling. I'm pretty sure if you've ever tried making a free from pastry then you will know the issues!

But then I stumbled across a magic ingredient which instantly perfected my gluten free pastry.

And meant that now my free from pastry could roll out like this...

That's quite a change in texture and rollability from a free from pastry without the xanthan gum.

Now I happily make free from pastry, without any of the crumbly frustrations of before.

You can find xanthan gum in the free from sections of most supermarkets (although I'm sure that the Stornoway Tesco is one of the stores that doesn't have it - the Coop does though!) If you are struggling to find it, I got the tub above from Amazon and it's lasted for ages.

I always make my own mincemeat for putting in my pies. I'm just not overly keen on the spiciness of shop bought versions. Like the Christmas Pudding recipe I shared yesterday, it really isn't as labour intensive to make your own as you might think. I don't think you can go wrong with the recipe from Nigella's How to be a Domestic Goddess. I've used it for years! If you are using shop bought mincemeat don't forget to double check that it is free from.

So for your free from pastry you will need:

8oz gluten free plain flour
2 tablespoons icing sugar
1 tsp xanthan gum
4oz dairy free margarine
1 egg yolk
2-4 tbsp cold water

12 bun tray
circle cutter
star cutter


- Put the flour, icing sugar and xanthan gum into a food processor and mix together quickly. If you don't have a food processor then just mix together in a bowl.

- Add the margarine and blitz until all the margarine is blended in and it looks like fine breadcrumbs. Or use your hands and do it the old fashioned way, rubbing the margarine into the flour with your fingers.

- In a cup mix the egg yolk with 2 tbsp of the cold water. Add this to the food processor while it is running (or add to your bowl and mix together with a knife) and watch for it all coming together into a ball of dough. You may have enough liquid for it to come together into a dough or you may have to add a tbsp or two more of the water. Don't let it get too soggy, you are looking for something that comes together in a bowl and will be rollable. If you are making it in the food processor it will come together in a matter of seconds.

- Wrap the dough up in cling film or a plastic bag and put it into the fridge to rest for around half and hour.

- Remove from the fridge, dust your work surface with some gluten free flour, put your ball of pastry down, sprinkle more flour on top and roll out until it is round about 1cm thick. I've never actually thought about how thick it should be. Not too thick, but then not so thin that it will break when you pick it up. Maybe look at my pictures above for a guideline if you aren't too sure!

- Cut out circles of the pastry and place into a 12 bun tin. Keep rolling and cutting out circles and also some smaller stars for the toppings.

- Add about a teaspoon full of mincemeat into each circle and top with a star. 

- Bake at 180C for around 20 mins. I find that gluten free pastry doesn't brown up as much as an ordinary pastry so watch that you don't over cook them.

- Let them cool and then dust with a generous sprinkling of icing sugar.

- These are so amazing when eaten still warm from the oven. The pastry is super light and melt in the mouth when they are warm. 

One of our favourite December evening suppers is warm mince pies with some warm Winter Punch - we love the Belvoir Fruit Farms Winter Punch.