I have a strange relationship with mince pies it has to be said.
I adore mincemeat, I could eat it all year round. On occasions I can be found hiding in the pantry with a spoon, shovelling the stuff into my mouth direct from the jar.
However, mince pies? Not so much. I can't abide the shop bought ones with inches thick of cloying pastry, you know, the ones which are more of a chore to consume than a pleasure.
I've never mastered the art of the homemade mince pie, producing either an undercooked offering with a soggy bottom, or else the filling busts forth, frothing and bubbling into a scalding hot mess, burning thick and dark onto the pastry top ruining the entire thing.
So this year, I'm trying something different. Something altogether lighter in the mouth and foolproof in the oven.
I kind of Christmas samosa if you will.
I discovered this delicious hedgerow mincemeat from Wild at Heart at the Christmas London Foodies Festival last week. I love the story behind the firm, two friends who left the corporate world to focus on a more family-friendly business, harnessing their love of foraging and their shared interest in good food.
Their hedgerow mincemeat is made with crab apples and elderberries, as well as the more traditional raisins. It's delicate and fruity and the lack of suet means it's not only suitable for vegetarians, but it makes the whole texture so much lighter. There's a beautiful zingy citrus freshness from the orange and lemon, and those who don't usually like rich, heavy mincemeat should definitely give this a try.
Ingredients for 10-15 'folded mince pies' - depending on size:
Pack of filo pastry
Jar of hedgerow mincemeat
30g melted butter.
NB one 260g jar of hedgerow mincemeat will do about half a pack of filo pastry, so just take half the sheets and re-wrap the remainder straight away and freeze for use another time.
Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
Place your butter in a saucepan over a gentle heat to melt.
Cut your pile of pastry sheets into long strips. I cut mine into three but you could cut them into 4 piles of strips if you want smaller, bite-sized parcels. I find it easier to use scissors.
Work quickly before the filo pastry dries out. For each parcel use two layers of pastry. Fold up the top one and using a pastry brush, brush melted butter onto the second sheet so the top sheet sticks to it.
Then brush melted butter along all four sides of the rectangular strip.
Place a teaspoon of mincemeat near the bottom corner.
Fold over the pastry to form a triangle, pressing down lightly at the edges.
Next, fold upwards, and continue folding in a triangular shape all the way up the strip, pressing down on the edges to seal as you go.
Once your parcel is fully wrapped, place onto your baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper and give a brush all over each parcel with more melted butter.
Bake your folded mince pies for approximately 20 minutes until crispy and golden brown.
Sieve over icing sugar and allow to cool a little before serving.
I received a free sample at the food festival.