Monday, 24 December 2012

Frangipane Mince Pies

Chances are, most people have probably made their mince pies by now. Me, I like to whip up a batch either Christmas eve, eve, or ideally - Christmas actual eve. This way they are super fresh, and you can even enjoy a few when still warm. Here is a little Christmas themed recipe that is super easy, yet super tasty.

My mince pie of choice, is one a little bit special, and a little bit different. If you are less a fan of pastry, and more a fan of fluffy almond sponge, then you will enjoy these as much as I do. Basically, you do away with the pastry lid and instead, top it with a fluffy, light, almond based sponge - a mincemeat bakewell, if you will.

To make these little scrummies, you will need:

For the pastry -

  • 175g plain flour
  • 75g butter, cut into cubes
  • 25g icing sugar (plus extra for dusting)
  • 1 large egg, beaten

For the frangipane topping-

  • 100g butter, softened
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 1 level tbsp plain flour
  • 1⁄2 tsp almond extract, or to taste (in my case, a lot)

For the filling - 

  • One jar of mincemeat - I used some of my Mum's homemade, but shop-bought is just fine. My sister doesn't actually like mincemeat, so I made a few with cherry jam in the bottom, as a substitute - she reports that they were yummy.

You can make the pastry by hand, but I used a food mixer. This way, the pastry stays as cold as possible, making it easier to work with (again, you can just get the shop-bought, sweet shortcrust pastry if you prefer/have limited time). To make the pastry and the mixture:
  1. First things first, preheat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Then, in the food mixer, pop in the flour, icing sugar and butter, and mix until it looks like breadcrumbs. Once this has happened, pour in the beaten egg, bit by bit. If your pastry has not quite come together, you can add a splash of cold water (be careful not too add to much as this will be hard to rectify) to bring it together.
  2. Spoon out this mixture on to a floured surface and lightly knead to bring it together. Once you have a dough like mixture, wrap it in some clingfilm and put in the fridge to chill for approx. 30 mins.
  3. Whilst the pastry is chilling, you can make your filling. For this, pop the butter and caster sugar in to the food mixer - no need to clean it as it is all similar ingredients. Cream these together until smooth. 
  4. Pour in the eggs and almond extract, and mix together (do not be alarmed if the mixture looks curdled at this point, it will be ok, I promise). Add the flour and almonds and mix until smooth, and put to one side.
  5. Whilst you are waiting, you can grease your bun trays with a little butter, sprinkle in flour, and shake off the excess. Also, pour your mincemeat into a bowl and bring back to life with a glug of brandy, or port, or rum - up to you.
Now for the fun bit, the assembly(!):
  1. Roll out your pastry and cut out circles big enough for your bun tin. If you do not have pastry cutters, you can always use a wine glass or tumbler to fit. Place these in the bun tray, lightly (careful not to squash them in, or they will be hard to get out).
  2. Spoon in a teaspoon of your mincemeat, and top with a teaspoon-and-a-half of your frangipane mixture (no need to level this out as it will even out in the cooking).
  3. If you like, you can sprinkle on a few flaked almonds for decoration.
Now, pop your little treats in the oven for 12-15 minutes, checking they don't catch. Once done, pop them on a plate, or cake stand, and dust them with icing sugar - then, tuck in and enjoy!

I will pop up a pic of this year's attempt at a later date :)

E x