Vegan Minced Fruit Tartlets

We celebrated very quiet new year with few of very close friends. We missed one friend and her family this year as they were visiting India. As always, it was a potluck. This year I decided to take dessert with me!
Winter break between Christmas and new year is my time to try one at least one new recipe that takes time and more skillful than anything I have ever done so far. This year I decided to tackle of making tart (or tartlets)! I have been thinking of baking tart from scratch for a very long time. I have made pie crust few times and it has come out well. But I always used butter/ghee to make the pie crust so this time I decided to make it completely vegan!!
Minced pie is a British Christmas special dessert that is definitely not vegan. And I have been thinking of making vegan version of it for years but just did not have time to do my research properly. And to kill two birds with one stone, I decided to make vegan minced fruit pie!!! There are various recipes on the web but the ones I referred the most were by David Lebovitz and Alton Brown. I followed Lebovitz's suggestion to cook the filling. He also suggests to use coconut butter/oil but I decided to skip it. As I couldn't follow their recipes, I decided to go in my own way with filling. Even when everything was ready, it took me complete 2 hours to assemble and bake these beauties, but it was all worth it! Everyone enjoyed it. I am planning to make it again soon and I do not think I will tweak the recipe!

Minced Fruit Pie

Here is how I made them -
Minced fruit Filling -
2 Ripe Pears (I used red D'Anjou variety but any juicy kind should be okay )
1/4 cup Dried Blueberries
1/4 cup Raisins
1/4 cup Dried Cranberries
2-3 tbsp Turbinado Sugar (or more per taste)
1/2 cup Orange Juice
1/4 cup Candied Ginger
1/4 cup Dried Figs
Zest from 1 Orange
3 tbsp Brandy
1/4 cup Toasted Sliced Almonds
Pinch Cinnamon Powder
Pinch All Spice Powder

Crust (Adapted from Joy Of Vegan Baking) -

2.5 cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
12 tbsp Earth Balance (Cold)
4 tbsp Vegetable Shortening (Refrigerate for 10-15 min)
1 tsp Salt
2 tsp Sugar
Ice water as needed

Close up: Crust

Preparation - 
Filling -
Core and dice pears.
Chop figs and candied ginger in small pieces, about same size as other dried fruits. 
Mix all dried fruits, sugar, orange zest and orange juice with diced pears in a heavy bottom non-reactive skillet.
Start cooking on low to medium heat. Orange juice will start evaporating and the mixture will become sticky in few minutes. Make sure it is not runny.
Mix spice powders, and toasted almonds.
Mix thoroughly, let it cool completely
Mix brandy and refrigerate for at least 3 days in an air tight container. 

Crust -
Measure out all the ingredients and refrigerate for few minutes. Make sure everything is cold.
Mix earth balance,  shortening, salt and sugar with flour in food processor. Slowly work the mixture until it looks crumbly. Do not over mix.
Start adding cold water tbsp at a time. the dough should just come all together. Do not over work. It should not be soft dough. You should not need more than 6-7 tbsp water.
Divide into two equal balls, cover with plastic wrap. Put the balls in a airtight container and refrigerate at least for 1 hour.

(Photo courtesy - Evolving Tastes)
Assembly -
You will need tartlet molds
Divide filling in 12 equal parts
Divide the dough in 12 equal parts.
Roll each dough ball just 1/2" wider than the tartlet molds. Do not over work the dough making it warm.
Carefully press rolled pastry in the nooks of the tartlet molds. Prick with fork couple of times in the center.
Repeat with remaining dough balls
Bake the tartlet shells at 425F for 10-12 minutes, or until the rims look golden brown.
Remove shells from the oven but do not remove from the tartlet molds. Let them cool for 10-15 minutes.
Once cooled, add one part of filling in one shell, press gently. Repeat with remaining shells.
Bake at 450F for 20-25 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let them cool a little. Now carefully remove the tarlets from the molds. They should come off easily. Sprinkle powdered sugar over and serve warm.

Tips -
  1. The filling can be made ahead of time. Traditionally it is made almost 5-6 months ahead and canned for further use.
  2. Making pastry is is skilful but keep your hands cold, do not over work the dough too much and you have a winner! 
  3. Dried fruits combination is just what I had in my pantry, you can change these per your taste. 


  1. 2 hours? Such a labor of love. I feel grateful to have had the chance to taste them!

  2. They look delectable and a perfect festive treat. I had to LOL when you said "killing two birds" in the same sentence as making a vegan recipe :D


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