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Frangipane mince pies

I realised something awful this morning – half way through December and I hadn’t made a single mince pie! I haven’t even eaten that many! So I set about making amends – now I have made and eaten quite a few…

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I decided to top this batch with frangipane as I like a change from all the pastry. The chewy almond top definitely was a good addition and one I’ll repeat but feel free to top with pastry if you prefer. My mother likes to top hers with little pastry stars and they do look incredibly sweet.

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My pastry has a little bit of orange zest which adds a welcome citrus burst to the rich mincemeat. Something to try when you have a spare orange…

The frangipane is really easy to make as it’s just a almond cake batter but it’s definitely harder to put on top than a circle of pastry! I thought that trying to dollop frangipane on top of the mincemeat was a recipe was disaster – I was certain to end up with a blended mess – so I piped it on. If like me you’re prone to culinary catastrophes I would pipe it on in spirals using a sandwich bag with a 0.5cm sized hole cut out but if you are neat feel free to use two spoons (and maybe a finger).

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The recipe below makes 24 mini mince pies, about 12-18 fairy cake sized ones and 8-12 deep muffin sized mince pies. I have split all the stages out to make it clear which I fear also makes it look dauntingly long which I promise it isn’t! If you don’t fancy making your own pastry you’ll need about half a 500g block of shortcrust pastry

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Recipe

Makes 24 mini mince pies, about 12-18 fairy cake sized ones and 8-12 deep muffin sized mince pies

Shortcrust pastry

190g plain flour
85g salted butter
Zest of half an orange (optional)
2tbsp cold water

  • If you have a food processor: Put the flour and butter in  a food processor and blitz to a sand like consistency, mix in the zest. Slowly add the water, blitz a couple of times more and then bring it all together by hand into a round of dough
  • If you’re making it buy hand: Chop the butter into small pieces, add them to the flour in a bowl and rub the two together until there are no obvious lumps of butter, mix in the zest. Slowly add the water, stirring it in at first with a table knife and then bring it all together by hand into a round of dough
  • Wrap the dough in cling film and pop it in the fridge as you make the frangipane.

Frangipane

125g butter
125g caster sugar
125g ground almonds
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp almond extract (if you have it- don’t worry if you don’t)

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C fan
  • Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Slowing mix in the ground almonds and then egg and almond (if using). Spoon this into a piping bag with a large piping nozzle or a sandwich bag with a 0.5cm cut in a bottom corner

To assemble

1/2 jar of mincemeat

  • Dust the holes of your baking tin with a little flour
  • Roll the pastry out to 3mm thick, cut out 5cm circles (if you are making mini mince pies), push into moulds, fill with a teaspoon of mincemeat and top with frangipane. If you are piping it on start at the outside, right up against the edge of the pastry, and work inwards – this should stop the mincemeat escaping out sideways.*
  • Bake for about 20mins – the frangipane should be golden and still feel a little soft, it will firm up
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool in their trays for 15mins before cooling fully on a cooling rack. They only need a few minutes cooling in the tray if you want to eat them hot.

These should last a few days in an airtight container. Reheat in the oven at 160°C for about 10mins, until they feel piping hot.

*Don’t worry about making the frangipane tops smooth – they will even off in the oven and expect to be left with a little frangipane – don’t try and overfill your mince pies as they will overflow all over the tray – you only need it 1cm high to cover the mincemeat.

 

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