I initially made these at Christmas, as a kind of alternative for people who are vegetarian or just don’t like mince pies. I brought in a portion of these and a portion of mince pies into work — and these went way more quickly. And I make really good mince pies. I think that says something.
These are lovely and tart, with a rich creaminess from the chocolate. The buttery, crumbly pastry is a perfect compliment to the slightly sour cherries, and then you can a touch of sweetness from the icing sugar on the top. Honestly, this recipe is a cracker.
You can use pre-bought shortcrust pastry for these, but please don’t. I have a fantastic recipe for sweet shortcrust pastry that is so crumbly and buttery it’s practically shortbread — and even a video showing you how to make it.
To make 12 cherry chocolate mince pies:
- One portion of sweet shortcrust pastry, chilled
- 300g of pitted cherries (I bought frozen ones and defrosted them. Works just as well and is cheap
- 200g milk chocolate chopped into chunks
- 2 tablespoons of cornflour
- 100ml of cranberry juice
- Golden caster sugar
- Kirsch (optional)
- 1 egg, beaten
- Put the cherries in a saucepan with the cranberry juice. Put the pan over a medium heat until the cranberry juice just starts to bubble. Sprinkle in some golden caster sugar and, if you like, add a good glug of kirsch. Stir in the cornflour and turn the heat to low, letting it simmer and thicken
- Pre-heat the oven to 220C/200C fan oven. Grease a muffin tin either with spray oil or a little butter. Roll out the pastry until it’s about as thick as a £1 piece and cut out 12 rounds using a 10cm cutter. If you run out of space on your pastry, gather up the scraps, lightly knead and re-roll. When you’ve finished, wrap up the remaining pastry in clingfilm and pop back in the fridge
- Poke the pastry shapes into the muffin tin and chill for 20 minutes
- Take the cherries off the heat and stir in the chocolate. Then fill each pastry case with about a tablespoon and a half of the cherry mix. It wants to fill about 2/3 of the case – it will bubble up in the oven and spill if you overfill
- Cut out 12 lids of 7cm from the remaining pastry. Beat the egg, brush it round the edge of the pastry cases, and fit a lid on top. Press down gently to seal the lid to the case and use a very, very sharp knife to pierce a hole in the top. Glaze with more egg
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until the pastry is golden. Wait five minutes, then carefully “twirl” the pies inside their tins to prevent sticking. Wait until cool and remove from the muffin tin completely. Sprinkle over a little icing sugar, and serve