Bush Christmas Recipe: Native Spiced Fruit Mince Pies

Made with plenty of native ingredients, these Christmas mince pies are a welcome surprise on the European classic

Made with plenty of native ingredients, these Christmas mince pies are a welcome surprise on the European classic

Ingredients

400g raisins 

400g dried muscatels 

200g dried apricots

100g candied orange rind 

100g candied ginger 

3 Granny Smith apples

1 cup muntries (native apple)

2 lemons

2 oranges

4 finger limes

1 tsp ground cloves 

200g dried or fresh riberries 

500g firmly packed soft brown sugar

150g chopped almonds macadamias

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon myrtle

1 teaspoon anise myrtle

2 teaspoons lemon myrtle powder

1 tablespoon wattleseed powder

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg 

100ml Applewood Okar (native liquor) or orange liqueur such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau

125ml brandy

 

Method

Finely chop the raisins, muscatels, dried apricots, candied orange rind, candied ginger and the unpeeled apples. Combine them and all of the remaining ingredients except for the alcohol. Transfer to a greased large baking dish, cover and set aside for a few hours. 

Cover with baking paper and bake in the oven at 100ºC for 3–4 hours. Cool, stirring regularly. Once cool, stir in the alcohol and spoon the mixture into sterilised jars. Seal, label and store in a cool, dark place. 

TIP: Ideally allow to mature for 3–12 months before using.

 

To make the pastry

225g cold butter, grated

350g plain flour

100g raw caster sugar

1 tablespoon wattleseed powder

280g 'mincemeat'

1 small egg

Icing sugar, to dust

 

Method

Rub the grated butter into the flour. Mix in the sugar and a pinch of salt. Combine the pastry into a large ball and knead it briefly, don’t over knead. The dough will be fairly firm, like shortbread dough. You can use the dough immediately, or chill for later.

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line 18 holes of two 12 - hole small shallow pie tin with a little butter. Roll out the pastry and use a small glass to cut out rounds just big enough to pit in the tin. Push them in gently. Spoon a large heaped tablespoon of 'mincemeat' into each pie.

Take slightly smaller balls of pastry than before and pat them out between your hands to make round lids, big enough to cover the pies. You can cut out shapes such as stars instead if you like or use thin slices to make a lattice. Top the pies with their lids, pressing the edges gently together to seal; you don't need to seal them with milk or egg, as they will stick on their own.

Beat the egg and brush the tops of the pies if you like them shiny and sprinkle with a little sugar. Bake for 20 minutes until golden. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack. Once cool, lightly dust with icing sugar. They will keep for 3 to 4 days in an airtight container. Serve warm with cream, ice cream or brandy custard.

NOTE: If you cannot get muntries (native apple) use three bush apples or an extra Granny Smith apple diced.

This article was put together with WARNDU: Australia's native food revolution. Rebecca Sullivan is a top cook, food curator, food writer, urban farmer, activist and one half of WARNDU.  @warndu 

Siobhan O'TooleComment