This combination of flavours is Christmas in one mouthful.
These dark chocolate orange mince pies filled with delicious mincemeat will make these pies real favourites.
The touch of Chocolate Orange in the pastry brings that additional magic touch that makes the whole difference.
You could eat the pastry on its own, only if the mince meat wasn't so moreish!
This is an adaptation of one of my sister's recipe, the chocolate beautifully complements all the deep, rich flavours of the other ingredients.
30g Luscious Orange chocolate, roughly chopped.
150g plain flour
125g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
25g ground almonds
50g raw cane sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
1 tbsp milk
For the mincemeat:
50g Peruvian Chulucanas 70 dark chocolate, finely grated
3 apples, such as russet or cox, grated and with the juice squeezed out
100g semi-dried apricots, roughly chopped
2 tbsp each light brown and dark brown muscovado sugar
1tsp each ground cinnamon, grated nutmeg and mixed spice
Zest and juice of 2 lemons or 2 oranges
5 tbsp of Apple Brandy or Grand Marnier
5 tbsp cognac
2 tbsp olive oil
This makes a little more than you will need but then you can put it in the fridge and make more mince pies later
2x12 hole muffin tins; 7.5-cm and 6.5- cm round pastry cutters
For the mincemeat:
To make the mincemeat, first mix the chocolate and apple in a large bowl. Blitz the dried fruit together in a food processor and add to the bowl. Add all the other ingredients and stir well.
For the pastry:
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl is not in contact with the water. Set aside to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, sift the cocoa powder and flour together into a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the ground almonds, sugar and orange zest. Make a well in the centre and place the egg yolk, milk and melted chocolate in it.
With a knife, gradually mix the flour into the wet ingredients until well combined and you have a smooth ball of soft, but not sticky, pastry. If it is too wet, add a little more flour. If too dry, add a little more milk. The pastry can also be made in a food processor if you wish.
Wrap the pastry in cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
Lightly grease the muffin tins. Roll out the chilled pastry on a lightly floured work surface to a thickness of about 2mm. cut out 24 rounds with the 7.5-cm cutter and 24 rounds with the 6.5-cm cutter, re-rolling the pastry if necessary.
Carefully press the larger rounds of pastry into the prepared tins so that they fit well into the holes. Fill each pastry case with a heaped teaspoon of the mincemeat.
Using a pastry brush dipped in a little water or milk, dampen around the edge of the smaller pastry rounds and place one on top of each filled pastry case, pressing around the edge to seal.
With the point of a sharp knife, pierce or cut a cross in the top, then leave to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes (you can freeze them at this stage for up to a month, then defrost and cook them whenever you wish).
Preheat the oven to 180˚C and bake the chilled pies for 10 minutes. Turn down the oven to 170˚C and bake for a further 10-12 minutes, until the pastry is crisp and golden. Leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes. Eat warm or leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
The mince pies can also be frozen at this stage, then served after warming through in the oven at 160˚C for 10 minutes.