Heartburn-friendly Christmas recipe: ‘Lighter’ mince pies to reduce the risk of symptoms

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Heartburn and acid reflux are common after the excesses of Christmas – lots of alcohol, chocolate, and fatty and citrus foods. For many sufferers, the painful symptoms can bring a downer to the festive celebrations.

But by altering food choices, heartburn sufferers can sometimes alleviate symptoms and enjoy their favourite foods without discomfort.

“Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without mince pies. However, their high fat, alcohol and citrus ingredients might just be the reason for that party-ruining heartburn,” said Soutter.

But Soutter has a delicious no added sugar mince pies recipe that swaps high-fat shortcrust pastry for a lighter and lower-fat filo pastry.

Soutter said: “The recipe is not only good for reducing the risk of heartburn but is also more friendly on our waistlines.”

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4 small or 2 large apples, grated (leave core)

110g sultanas

170g raisins

2tbsp ground mixed spice

1 orange zest

3 prunes + 100ml juice (canned)

1tsp vanilla bean extract (liquid)

1 x 270g pack large filo pastry sheets



1. Place filo out of fridge at room temperature

2. In a bowl, mix the dried fruit, created apples, ground mixed spice, orange zest, three prunes and 100ml of the juice, 1/2 tsp vanilla bean extract. Mix ingredients in a bowl. This should make around 450g mincemeat.

3. Spray Frylight onto baking tray with muffin holes. Brush two sheets of filo pastry with with Frylight and layer on top of each other. Cut into four squares.

4. Place filo pastry into one hole of the muffin tray, pushing it down where needed to fill the gaps. Fill with 1tbsp of mincemeat mix (25g per pie) and squeeze the pastry together at the top to make a parcel. You should have enough mincemeat for 18 pies

5. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown

6. Option – dust with icing sugar

“Mincemeat is usually packed with nuts and whilst they are a nourishing food, swapping with fibre rich prunes lowers the fat content and tastes amazing,” said Soutter.

“Alcohol is a common ingredient, often used to preserve the mincemeat. Unfortunately, alcohol consumption has been shown to relax the lower oesophageal sphincter which may trigger heartburn.

“This recipe swaps alcohol with liquid vanilla bean extract, which is easy to source from your local supermarket.”

Soutter also advises how citrus fruits, which are commonly used in mince pies, can trigger heartburn symptoms.

She explained: “Citrus fruits are thought to exacerbate heartburn due to their acidic nature.

“One study which included 394 heartburn sufferers showed 73 percent of the participants experienced heartburn after drinking orange or grapefruit juice.

“Whilst it’s not entirely clear as to how citrus juice can cause heartburn, it is thought that it may be to do with the amount of acid in citrus juice.

“This recipe swaps orange juice for a touch of orange zest which solves the problem without ruining the flavour.” 

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