Mince pies are a traditional Christmas treat in the UK. Generally it’s a mince pie and some sherry that gets left out for Santa on Christmas Eve. Mince isn’t a meat but a mixture of dried fruits, nuts, rum or brandy and spices. It’s really easy to find jars of the stuff around wintertime in the UK but if you can’t it’s not a particularly difficult thing to make. There are a lot of odd people that don’t like mince pies. Admittedly, mince pies are pretty commercially produced when shop bought and the pastry has to be a bit robust to survive. I think these mince pies taken from the Baking Bible that is Nigella Lawon’s ‘How To Be A Domestic Goddess’ would convert the hardiest of doubters, the pastry is so light with the icing sugar and the frangipane goes beautifully with the spiced fruit. I think the almond flavour of frangipane just makes it extra Christmassy, reminiscent of marzipan and stollen. Serve one of these with a cup of mulled wine for the ultimate winter treat.
- 175g plain flour
- 30g ground almonds and another 90g for the frangipane
- 65g icing sugar
- pinch salt
- 125g unsalted block of butter and another 90g for the frangipane
- 4 eggs
- 200g mincemeat
- 90g caster sugar
1.) For the pastry, add the icing sugar, flour and 30g almonds and a pinch of salt to a food processor.
2.) Chop the 125g butter into small cubes and throw them into the food processor.
3.) Pulse the mixture until it looks like breadcrumbs.
4.) In a bowl, separate 2 egg yolks and add a tbsp iced water. Pour into the food processor and continue to pulse until the pastry is starting to clump together around the food processor.
5.) Bring it together with your hands and form two discs. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
6.) Roll out one of the discs and stamp out 6 circles. Use these to fill the inside of a cupcake tin. Repeat with the other disc. I only had a muffin tin so I had to do a bit of a cut and paste job with the rest of the pastry which was fine but it was a bit difficult to get the pies out of the tin in the end.
7.) Refrigerate the mince pies for another 15 minutes and preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
8.) Divide the mincemeat among the twelve tarts.
9.) To make the frangipane, melt the other 90g butter in the microwave for 20 seconds, beat with the other two eggs, the 90g caster sugar and the 90g ground almonds.
10.) Add dollops of the frangipane onto the top of the mincemeat. Cook for about 15 minutes. (Mine may look a bit brown but weren’t burnt at all!)
11.) Let them cool to room temperature before removing from the tin.