Mince pies – with orange frangipani

frangipanimincemeattarts3

I’m very chuffed that this recipe (and its sister recipe of Cranberry, pineapple, cherry and nut mincemeat) is being displayed by Wren’s Kitchens on its Wren’s Christmas Kitchen


I’ve made my mince pies with an orange frangipani topping for years. I first made them like this in my twenties and have kept to it ever since. What brought this recipe about I’ve always thought there is too much pastry on traditional fully encased mince pies yet they’re a bit too ‘jam tart’ if made without some sort of lid or topping on. I was making a Bakewell tart close to Christmas and the light bulb sparked up. You may think this odd that I remember it from such a while ago, but I do genuinely remember – I even remember that it was in this really freezing house with a very sparse kitchen that me and four friends were renting (I’d just graduated and was in my first [and incredibly badly paid] job and they’d all stayed on to do Masters Degrees).

I know I’m biased towards this recipe as it’s my own and I’ve made it to my exact tastes. I also helps that I only use my own mincemeat recipe too – which is rich in cranberries, pineapple, cherry juice and lots of nuts. Please see my special  mincemeat recipe.

Notes

Anyway, less waffling on, and down to this recipe. I’ve honed it over many Christmases and this year I made them into mini pies. Normally I use a standard 12 hole bun tin that takes fairy cake cases, but for these teeny versions I opted for my 28 hole bun tin. This recipe will make 24 smaller pies but equally will work for 12 normal-sized pies in a standard 12 hole bun tin.

An extra tip to improve shop-bought mincemeat (if you don’t want to make the minemeat yourself) is to add some extras. Tip out the jar of mincemeat into a large bowl and warm for about 20 – 30 seconds in a microwave. Add in your favourite flavours such as orange zest, a handful of chopped almonds, a glug of kirsch or cherry brandy and a handful of glacé cherries. Whatever takes your fancy to improve the mincemeat.

The last point I’d like to add is, if you have people to feed who don’t like mincemeat (I know many children are reticent), just replace it with a spoonful of raspberry jam or a marmalade and hey presto, you’ve got a Bakewell tart-style pie.

You can make half and half – 12 in jam and 12 in mincemeat (or 6:6 if you’re doing normal sized). Just don’t get them confused or your guests will be playing mincemeat Russian roulette. I suggest if you bake both types, just ice one type so you can differentiate.

The tart cases can be made and blind baked up to a day before you go on to fill and cook them.

Equipment

  • 24-hole or 12-hole bun tin
  • Circular biscuit cutter – big enough to make a pastry round that will fill the bun tin cavity. For my 24-hole tin, this was a cutter about 6cm in diameter
  • Rolling pin and palette knife
  • Large bowls
  • Balloon whisk, electric hand mixer or stand mixer
  • Teaspoon
  • Pastry brush
  • Piping bag and small nozzle
  • For blind baking: either kitchen foil, baking paper or good quality cling film and either ceramic baking beans or dried pulses

Ingredients – pastry

  • Plain flour 220g
  • Ground almonds – 30g
  • Unsalted butter – 125g
  • Caster sugar – 50g

Ingredients – frangipani

  • Ground almonds – 50g
  • Caster sugar – 50g
  • Unsalted butter, softened (but not runny) – 50g
  • Plain flour – 50g
  • Large egg, beaten
  • Baking powder – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Zest of one large orange

Ingredients – filling

  • Mincemeat – about half a standard jar or raspberry jam (if making Bakewell-tart versions)

Ingredients – topping

  • Flaked almonds – about 2 – 3 tablespoons
  • Icing sugar – about 5 tablespoons
  • Orange juice – a 1/4 teaspoon
  • Water – a few drops to bring the icing together to a thick but running consistency

Method – blind baking the tart cases

  1. Grease the tin with with a little melted butter and dust with flour
  2. Weigh out all the ingredients (for the pastry) in a large bowl and bring together by hand until incorporated
  3. Put the oven on to 180C fan / 200C conventional
  4. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface as thin as you dare – and no thicker than 2mm
  5. Take your cutter and press out rounds of pastry, transferring these to the prepared bun tin and pressing them gently but firmly into each cavity
  6. You need to prepare these pastry cases for bind baking:
    1. you can either use a traditional baking paper or foil liner filled with baking beans: tart cases
    2. or use a high quality cling film and place your beans on to of that. If you are using cling film, fold the edges of it over the beans and make a little parcel. Any cling film that touches the metal of the bun tin will melt, but it will be fine one the pastry and your baking beans (this image is after the blind baking):frangipanimincemeattarts_bakingblind
  7. Bake for 13 minutes, take the tray out of the oven and carefully lift out the baking beans and foil/paper/cling film
  8. Return the plain and empty tart cases back to the oven for 4 more minutes
  9. Take the tart cases out of the oven and leave somewhere to cool a little while you prepare the filling

Method – filling and baking

  1. Turn on the oven to 180C fan or about 200C conventional (if you’ve left it on since baking the tart cases)
  2. Fill each pastry case with a teaspoon of mincemeat (or jam) for 24-hole bun tins (or a couple of teaspoons if you are using a 12-hole bun tin)frangipanimincemeattarts_filling
  3. Make the frangipani by first creaming the butter and sugar together in a bowl until fluffy and pale
  4. Add in the flour, ground almonds and orange zest and about 3/4 of the egg (you may not need it all) and beat lightly together until incorporated
  5. The mix should be light and fluffy, but not runny – about the consistency of a typical Victoria sponge. If you feel it is too dry, add in the rest of the egg and mix together
  6. Now add a large teaspoon of the frangipani on top of the mincemeat (you’ll need 2 – 3 teaspoons of the mix if you are using the large bun tins)
  7. Sprinkle on the flaked almonds frangipanimincemeattartsprecooking
  8. Bake for about 14 minutes until golden and springy to the touch
  9. Cool in the tin, until cold enough to lift and then transfer to a wire rack
  10. When the pies are fully cold, mix the icing sugar, orange juice and water together to a thick but runny paste and transfer it to a piping bag (or make your own with baking paper)
  11. Zig-zag the icing all over the top of the pies

mincePies1

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2 comments

  1. […] I have a confession: I hate mincemeat normally and won’t touch a shop bought mince pie. That’s because those jars of mealy sultanas and raisins just aren’t up to scratch compared to good homemade mincemeat. This goes all the way back to when I was little and tasted a mince pie from a plastic tray of them that was handed to me. Ughh. I never tried another until I was newly graduated and handed a homemade mince pie from an office colleague (a keen baker and preserver) and felt I couldn’t be that rude and not even try. She won me over and I set about making my own mincemeat every year to match my own tastes – it was around then that I started making frangipani-topped mince pies (please see my recipe for these). […]

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