What’s cooking today: Fruit mince pies in your air fryer

What’s cooking today: Fruit mince pies in your air fryer
Tony Jackman’s Christmas mince pies, cooked in an air fryer. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

Little pies made with festive fruit mincemeat can be cooked in your air fryer in just 20 minutes. Here’s how.

Those of us who love “Christmas mince”, the product sold commercially as “fruit mincemeat”, shake our heads in bewilderment on those odd occasions when somebody says they just hate it. This, and festive fruit cakes, seem to be as polarising as coriander is in the world of herbs. (Some people call it “the dreaded coriander”, while everyone else adores it.)

Anyway, for those legions of fans, and especially those who now own air fryers, we’ve worked out how they can be baked in your air fryer, and it’s really easy and pretty quick.

Bear in mind that cooking times for baking in an air fryer are only a little shorter than the equivalent in a conventional oven. It is, when it comes down to it, just another kind of oven, although the intensity of the hot air blowing around in an air fryer does get the job done a bit sooner.

You can make your own fruit mincemeat, although it is so easy to just grab a jar off the shelf in the supermarket baking section.

If you want to make your own filling, here’s how: In a bowl (best done the day before and then refrigerated overnight), mix together ¾ cup dark brown sugar, ¾ cup mixed dried fruit (from a packet sold as such), ¼ cup blanched almonds (toast them and chop them up finely), 2 Tbsp red glacé cherries (chopped), 1 tsp mixed spice, ½ tsp ground cinnamon, 2 Tbsp melted butter, and ¼ cup brandy. Peel and core 1 small apple, grate it and stir that in. Leave it to macerate for a few hours, chilled, or preferably overnight. That’s your mincemeat filling. Bring it to room temperature before using.

Sweet shortcrust pastry can be made very quickly. Then, rather than cutting out rounds, you take balls of it and press them into the bases of foil muffin tins, also sold near the bakery goods at supermarkets.

Alternatively, buy commercial frozen shortcrust pastry, although it is not sweetened.

In this case, I used a jar of bought fruit mincemeat. There’s no reason why not. But I made my own pastry.

(Makes about 10 little pies )


2 cups plain flour

¼ cup caster sugar 

100 g chilled butter, chopped 

1 egg yolk

¼ cup full cream milk

About ½ a jar of fruit mincemeat, or a similar quantity of your own

Cooking oil spray


In a bowl, mix together the flour, castor sugar and chopped butter, using clean hands. Rub the mixture together until it looks something like breadcrumbs in texture.

Add the egg yolk and milk, work it with your hands until you have a nice dough, knead it for five minutes, form it into a ball, then wrap it in clingfilm and refrigerate it for half an hour.

Spray the insides of 10 little foil muffin cups with cooking oil spray.

Divide two-thirds of the dough into 10 pieces (for the bases of the little pies), and the other one-third into 10 more. These will be the lids.

Press one bigger ball into the base of a muffin tin and use your thumb to work it to the edges and about halfway up the sides. Press the smaller balls of dough into neat rounds big enough to fit on top.

Spoon enough filling into each to come just shy of the top.

Place the lids on carefully, and push them down at the edges to join with the base pastry. Prick a little hole in the middle of each.

Preheat the air fryer to 170℃ on the bake setting if yours has that, or just on air fry.

Bake for 20 minutes, then leave to cool for half an hour or so before turning them out. Dust with icing sugar, tapped lightly through a fine sieve.

Air fryers are of differing sizes. I cooked six in the first batch and 4 in the second.

It’s best to let them cool completely before eating them, allowing the pastry to firm up a little; they’re rather crumbly when hot. I prefer them fridge-cold. DM

Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Writer 2023, jointly with TGIFood columnist Anna Trapido.

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks.


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