As a child I was not too keen on mince pies. They were floury and pastry-heavy and I had a distinct hatred for candied peel, which I now slightly crave and find it an essential ingredient to the mincemeat. I was asked to make some mince pies for kids so I set about looking at sweeter versions. In the midst of my research there was a knock on my door and my neighbour, Graham, proudly presented me with a little frangipane mince pie. It was his first baking attempt and it was a little slice of warm heaven! He found the recipe in The Waitrose Magazine which told you to make the pastry using cream cheese. I have to confess that I would never have detected the cream cheese and although it was all delicious I wasn’t taken with the idea of its’s addition as it seemed unnessacary to add yet more fat to the pie.
Having been making baked apples and frangipane tarts in recent times, I decided to merge the two togther and I made my own mince pies. I admit I did use shop-bought puff pastry but the ‘all butter’ version is simply scrummy!
This recipes makes 24 mince pies
2 tablespoons raisins
2 tablespoons golden sultanas
1 tablespoon chopped dates
Half a small cooking apples, grated
1/2 tablepoon of candied peel
3 tablespoons of coconut sugar or golden caster sugar
A good glug of Marsala
125g unsalted butter
125g golden caster sugar
1 heaped tablespoon plain flour
250g ground almonds
Shop bought All butter Puff pastry
Flaked almonds to decorate
Make the mincemeat by putting all ingredients in a bowl and allow flavours to infuse for at least 3-4 hours – even better over night.
Make the frangipane – put the butter and sugar in a food processer and blitz well then add the eggs, one at a time and mix well so it’s all blended smoothly. Add the ground almonds and flour. Mix well then add the Marsala – add as much as you want to taste.
Roll out puff pastry and cut into circle to fit small pie tray. Place the pastry circles in the tray and gently press down. Put a small amount of mincemeat in the bottom of each pie and then top with the frangipane – I find it easiest to pipe the frangipane in rather than spoon as it’s neater and more precise.
Top with flaked almonds then pop in the oven at 200c for 20 – 25 minutes – or until they are lightly golden brown. Eat straight away or allow to cool in the tray. Dust with icing sugar.
You could always top with a small star of puff pastry rather than the flaked almonds.