Mince Pies with Dark Chocolate & Figs or White Chocolate & Cranberries

White Chocolate and Cranberry Christmas Mince
500g (1 1/2 cups) good quality fruit mince
2 tbsp brandy
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup ground almonds
100g white chocolate, chopped into chunks
drop almond essence
(enough for around 36 mince pies depending on the size)
Dark Chocolate and Fig Christmas Mince
500g (1 1/2 cups) good quality fruit mince
2 tbsp brandy
3/4 cup dried figs, chopped
1/4 cup ground almonds
100g 70% dark chocolate, chopped into chunks
1/3 cup finely chopped crystallised ginger(optional)
 (enough for around 36 mince pies depending on the size)
3kg sweet ready rolled shortcrust pastry (for full amount)
To make each of the Christmas mince fillings simple mix all of the ingredients together and store in an airtight container until you are ready to use it. It will last up to 3 weeks, and for some obscure reason I stored mine in the fridge. Like this you can make as many or few as you like at a time.
When you are ready to bake them, spray your mini muffin tins with a little neutral oil (like rice bran), then use a cookie cutter to cut circles of pastry to line the tins. Keep the pastry chilled until you use it, but let it soften a bit before you try and squish it in, so that it doesn’t crack. I used a cocktail muddler (as you do) to poke mine in firmly. Use a teaspoon to fill the cases with Christmas mince, but don’t overfill as it will ooze out and be a complete pain to clean off the tins. Cut shapes out to put on top then put the trays in the fridge to chill while you heat the oven to 180˚C (350˚F). Make sure you do chill the tarts for at least 20 minutes before you bake them as if the pastry is too soft going in it can go too ‘runny’ on the top. Bake for 15-25 minutes depending on the size of your mince pies - I baked my little ones for 15 minutes, and the big ones in these pics for 20 minutes.

When serving they are extra nice re-heated for 5 minutes in a 180˚C (350˚F) oven and served with eggnog custard cream or whipped cream sweetened with a little icing sugar and laced with brandy or whiskey. 

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