apple and cranberry christmas pies

Spiced cranberry and apple Christmas pies

No-one is huge fans of mince pies in this house but at the same time there is nothing else like a lovely pastry case filled with Christmas scented goodies with a cup of tea is there?  Last year I made something on the lines of these but with fresh cranberries. This year I have swapped to dry cranberries that worked even better. One I nearly always have dry cranberries in the cupboard and two so far the cheapest fresh cranberries have been £4.

The ones I have made are gluten-free and I was SO chuffed how brilliantly the pastry came out. Gluten-free pastry has been known to make me nearly cry!!! I will put the recipe for normal pastry though with the gluten-free change for anyone who is gluten-free.

I have been sent to give a try a 12 hole Glidex mini tart tray from the Great British Bakeware range. I must say I have never heard of this company, and put it to the hard test with the gluten-free pastry. They are totally perfect size hole as they are a bit deeper than the usual tart tin and also have lovely slightly steeper sloping sides giving a real nice end result shape. The Glidex range promises they glide off, and indeed they did. Not a crumbs was left and gluten-free pastry is known to crumble very easily. Not a tear shed trying to get gluten-free pastry out and even more important no scrubbing at all, a quick flick with the dish cloth in the washing up and the tin was as good as new. Perfect!!! It is also dishwasher safe which a lot of bakeware often isn’t. I should add here that this tray is only £8 which for its performance is really excellent value.

Let get cooking….

So to make these yummy little Christmas pies you will need:

For the pastry:

225g Plain flour (I swapped to gluten-free)

110g Chilled butter diced

70g Castor sugar

1 egg yolk (gluten-free 1 whole egg)

2-3 tbls of cold water to bind

2 tsp Nielsen-Massey vanilla bean paste (optional)

Beaten egg or milk to glaze the tops

For the filling you will need:

3 eating apples peeled and chopped into small pieces

100g dry cranberries

2 tsp of mixed spice (or your favourite mix of spices than remind of Christmas)

3-4 tbls of soft brown sugar (I used dark brown but light brown is fine too)

A generous knob of butter

4 tbls of cold water

Zest of 1 orange ( I didn’t have any oranges in so I used I tsp Nielsen-Massey orange essence)

1 tbls of rum, sherry or brandy (optional)

To make the pastry simply:

  • Put the flour and butter into a bowl. Rub with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Stir in the sugar, add in the egg yolk (or whole egg if gluten-free) and vanilla bean paste. Begin to work into a ball adding the cold water as you need it, Either using your fingertips or a table knife.
  • Wrap the dough into a plastic bag or cling film and pop in the fridge for 30 minutes while you make the filling.

To make the filling you need to:apple and cranberry christmas pies

  • Melt the butter in a pan, I used a frying pan.  Add the apples and cook for a few minutes until softening on a medium heat.
  • Add the spice and cook for another two minutes, enjoying the smell!!! Add the cranberries and give a good stir then add the sugar and 2 tbls of the water.
  • Cook for about 5 minutes then add the rest of the water and  orange zest and rum if using. Keep on a low to medium heat and stir every once in a while.
  • Your aiming for a spoonable constinecy. This will take about 20 minutes.

To make up the Christmas pies:

  • Preheat oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4
  • Lightly grease a 12 hole tart/cake tin this recipes makes 12 larger one or 18 ones like I made.
  • Cut pastry circles or flowers as I have used to to fit your 12 hole tray. Place in the holes and filled with your spiced pie filling. Re-roll the pastry and cut out small stars to top them.
  • Brush with the beaten egg or milk. Egg does give a more golden finish though so I used egg.
  • Bake for 15- 20 minutes until golden brown and fully cooked.
  • Leave to cool in the tray for a few minutes, then place on a cooling rack to finish cooling, or eat one like I did, yum!!!
  • Sprinkle with icing sugar for a festive look 🙂

Get ahead for Christmas tip:

These can be frozen so perfect to make before Christmas so they are already when needed. Freeze open on a tray then bag up then they won’t stick together. Thaw before using and are nice warmed in the oven before serving too.
apple and cranberry christmas pies

As you can see from the picture they come out perfectly and look rather special I think, amazing what a bit of icing sugar and a good photo (thank you Cam x) can do!!!

You can find out more about Great British Bakeware Glidex range from

I was really impressed with the Great British Bakeware which is made in Lancashire. I am really looking forward to baking more goodies in them. I am thinking mini quiches and something chocolatey too 🙂 so from Over a Cuppa you get a BIG thumbs up for quality and price 🙂

Thank you Sarah for sending me the bakeware, really impressed and about to have a Christmas pie now with a cuppa 🙂

This recipe is my own, I hope you enjoy making it. My review has followed my strict Over a Cuppa policy of giving honest praise only when due 🙂










4 comments on “Spiced cranberry and apple Christmas pies

  1. 76sunflowers
    November 23, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    These look and sound delicious! Nice alternative to mincemeat 🙂

    • Ali
      November 24, 2012 at 12:19 pm

      Thank you 🙂 They were, I mean are… yummy x

  2. Danielle Askins
    November 29, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    These sound and look delicious-I love an ordinary mince pie, but come Boxing day I am sick of them, so nice to have an alternative!

    Found you from the Tots 100 fresh 5!

    • Ali
      November 30, 2012 at 9:11 am

      Thanks Dani 🙂 they were yummy and not so overly sweet like mince pies can be. Oooh Tots 100 fresh 5 thanks for telling me 🙂

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