• Instead of the buttery, sugary traditional mince pies we all love, try these fruity, nutty little delights that taste just like Christmas! Spiced apple, almond and cranberry mince pies not only taste amazing, they’re also vegetarian, dairy-free and gluten-free! The pastry is chewy and delicious – it’s an excellent recipe to have at hand and use in other bakes. Although not lower in energy or fat than the original version, this recipe is packed with goodness from the nuts, apples and dried fruit. You can get ahead by making the pastry and mince up to three days ahead, storing in the fridge and simply assembling and baking just before serving.

    Spiced apple, almond and cranberry mince pies

    Serves: Makes about 45
    Cooking Time: 1 hr 30 mins


    • Pastry

    • 90g coconut oil
    • 400g ground almonds + extra, to roll
    • 80ml (cup) water
    • 400g pitted dates, soaked in boiling
    • water for 10 minutes and drained
    • 1 beaten egg, to brush
    • Fruit mince

    • 2 unpeeled green apples, cored and grated
    • 5ml (1 tsp) vanilla essence
    • 30ml (2 tbsp) raisins
    • 30ml (2 tbsp) sultanas
    • 60ml (4 tbsp) dried cranberries
    • 60ml (4 tbsp) brandy
    • 5ml (1 tsp) canola oil + extra, to grease
    • 20ml (4 tsp) ground cinnamon
    • 15ml (1 tbsp) ground ginger
    • juice of 1 naartjie
    • pinch salt
    • 125g raspberries, to serve



    For the pastry, add all of the ingredients, except the egg, to a blender and blitz until well combined. Add a sprinkling of ground almonds to a work surface and bring the dough together into a disc. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate, at least 30 minutes.


    For the fruit mince, add all of the ingredients to a medium pot and bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Simmer, stirring, 5 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool down.


    Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease 12-well muffin tins with canola oil (you’ll be making 45 pies, so simply work in batches and reuse the same tins if needed). Roll half of the pastry out on a surface, dusted with ground almonds, to a thickness of about 1cm and cut out 45 stars. Scoop out tablespoon-sized pieces of the remaining dough, and press the discs into the wells of the muffin tins (tap down with your fingertips to mould gently). Trim off any excess pastry and use again.


    Add about 2 heaped teaspoons of the fruit mince to each pastry cup. Close the mince pies with the star lids and brush with the beaten egg. Bake in the preheated oven, 15 minutes, until the pastry is golden. Serve garnished with a few raspberries.