In these Date and Apple Mince Pies I take a humble, slightly boozy date and apple filling, encase it in a cinnamon shortbread pastry and top it with an almond frangipane. A delicious home made treat I think is worth the extra effort.

Dates are synonymous with living here in the desert so I wanted the filling to reflect that and mixed chopped dates with grated, fresh apple, some sultanas, cranberries, a knob of butter, a splash of vanilla and more than a splash of whiskey. You could switch and change the fruit as you prefer, same with the alcohol. Cut it out completely or replace with brandy or a liqueur of your choice.

I’m not great at making pastry. My hands are too warm and I am too heavy handed when working with it. But I saw this clever “tea towel” method on Alexandra Stafford’s instagram account so decided to make my own pastry. I made a simple shortbread mix and added vanilla and cinnamon to enhance the flavour. Pulsed it in the food processor until it just wants to come together. The crumbly flour and butter mixture is brought together by using a tea towel (I used a cheesecloth) and twisted into a beggars purse. This easily combines it into a ball of dough without having to use your (warm) hands.

These Date and Apple Mince Pies are what you would call “deep-filled”. I used a muffin tin with 100ml cup sizes and did not want so much pastry so opted for an almond frangipane topping which is delicious and adds another layer of texture. You could of course make a bit more shortbread for the lids or just make shortbread stars as decoration on top.

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I hope you enjoy this recipe idea for Date and Apple Mince Pies and hope you have a Merry Christmas if you celebrate . If you’ve made it, share it with me by tagging @heinstirred on Instagram with the hashtag #heinstirred. It is always a treat to see the recipes made and enjoyed.

Date and Apple Mince Pies


  • Filling :
  • 220 g pitted dates finely chopped
  • 30 g sultanas
  • 20 g cranberries
  • 100 g grated apple
  • 50 g butter
  • 50 ml whiskey
  • grated zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • good pinch of salt
  • Frangipane:
  • 100 g ground almonds
  • 70 g butter softened
  • 70 g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 20 g cake flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Pastry :
  • 350 g cake flour
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • good pinch of salt
  • 225 g cold butter cut into cubes
  • flaked almonds to decorate
  • icing sugar for dusting


  • Make the filling :
  • Bring all the ingredients to a slow simmer for a few minutes, stirring until all the liquid has been absorbed
  • Set aside to cool down completely
  • Make the frangipane :
  • Whizz all
 of the ingredients in a food processor until smooth and set aside
  • (alternatively, use electric beaters or a wooden spoon.)
  • Make the mince pies :
  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C
  • Grease a 12 cup muffin/cupcake tin
  • Mix the flour, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and salt and place in a food processor
  • Add the cubed butter and pulse at 1 second intervals until the dough just starts coming together
  • Empty the mixture onto a tea towel or cheesecloth and twist into a beggars purse (see image in blog post)
  • The pastry would have easily come together into a ball
  • Pinch off a small ball of dough and press it into each of the cups covering the base and sides
  • Fill each with the date and apple mixture
  • Spoon the frangipane on top and even it out gently
  • Decorate with some flaked almonds
  • Bake for about 20-25 minutes until golden and the pastry is cooked
  • Leave to cool in the tin for 5 mins, then remove and place on a cooling rack to cool to room temperature
  • Lightly dust with icing sugar if desired and serve
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