22 December, 2012

Mince pies with frangipane topping

Mince pies

I find mince pies can easily be too heavy on the pastry. So I was pleased to find a recipe for mince pies with an almond paste topping. Except … there were no almonds in it! I still liked the result when I made them last year. They are much lighter than the traditional version, and the almond flavour complements the mincemeat really well. This year I made my own version of the frangipane, with almonds. So here’s the recipe. Use whatever your favourite mincemeat recipe is (or buy some) and make a sweet shortcrust for the base.

This amount of pastry and frangipane will make about 24 small mince pies.

Sweet shortcrust pastry:
125 g soft butter
50 g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
3-4 tbs cold water
250 g plain flour

Mincemeat

Frangipane:
120 g soft butter
50 g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tbs water
75 g plain flour
75 g ground almonds

For the pastry, cut the butter into the flour, stir in the sugar, then beat in the egg yolk and water. Use the minimum amount of water necessary, so that the pastry just holds together. You can just put everything in a food processor and whiz it, but your pastry won’t be as light and flaky as mine if you do. Either way, chill the pastry in the fridge for an hour before you use it.

For the frangipane, if you have a food processor, you can just put all the ingredients in and whiz them to a paste. Otherwise, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy, then beat in the egg yolk and water, followed by the flour and almonds. This will make a fairly firm paste.

Line your tins with thinly rolled pastry and put a generously heaped teaspoon of mincemeat in each one (don’t overfill or they will overflow and burn). If you have a piping bag and the time, you can pipe the paste onto the mince pies. Otherwise, roll the paste into small balls between your hands, flatten them into discs, and place them on top of the mincemeat, pressing down round the edges. It doesn’t matter if they don’t quite meet the pastry. You can store any leftover frangipane in the fridge for a few days.

Preheat the oven to 190C and bake the pies for 15-20 minutes, till the pastry is light gold, and the frangipane is set. Leave to cool for a few minutes before removing from tins. Dredge with icing sugar to serve.

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