I’m not going to mention the C-word. I’d quite like the leisure to enjoy autumn before getting into all that winter malarkey, but scarily there are only 12 weeks to go. As I keep seeing pictures on social media of shop-bought mince pies I thought it might be a good time to share this recipe.
With their buttery shortcrust, fruity filling and nutty topping, these little pies got a huge thumbs-up from our builders James, Andy and Dale this week and let me tell you, those men are connoisseurs.
I used ‘quincemeat’ (see Nigella, River Cottage and others for a recipe) and October is a good month to make it, but any good mincemeat will work in this recipe. Rather than a pastry lid, I’ve used a hazelnut frangipane, which works particularly well with the filling and feels suitably autumnal.
Ground hazelnuts are available in some supermarkets and online, but if you’d prefer to use almonds, just swap one for the other. Alternatively, grind your own from toasted hazelnuts but pulse them in small batches so they don’t go oily.
NB: the hazelnut frangipane is also fantastic in a Bakewell tart, especially if you substitute blackberry and apple jam for the traditional raspberry.
Mince Pies with Hazelnut Frangipane
Ingredients for the shortcrust:
150g plain flour
40g butter, room temperature
35g white cooking fat, room temperature
Pinch of salt
About 350g mincemeat
100g caster sugar
100g butter, room temperature
100g ground hazelnuts
25g plain flour
1/2 level tsp baking powder
1 egg, lightly beaten
Preheat the oven to 180 fan/200C/400F/ Gas Mark 6.
Make the shortcrust pastry: sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl, add the cubed fats and rub in between thumb and fingertips until you have a breadcrumb consistency. Add just enough cold water to mix into a firm dough, form into a disc, wrap and chill for 20 minutes.
Make the frangipane: in a bowl, mix the ground hazelnuts, flour and baking powder and whisk gently to remove any lumps. In a second bowl, beat the sugar and butter until pale and fluffy. Add the egg bit by bit, still beating. Now fold in the dry ingredients with a metal spoon, making sure they’re fully combined.
Lightly grease a couple of patty pans and on a floured board, roll out your pastry thinly. Using a 7cm pastry cutter (or whatever fits your tins) cut out discs of shortcrust and line each cup.
Add a heaped teaspoon of mincemeat to each, then top with another heaping teaspoon of the frangipane. Try to spread it in an even circle if possible, but don’t worry about going right to the edges as the frangipane will spread in the oven. Don’t go too mad with the topping or it will burst its banks.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is crisp and the topping golden brown. Cool in the tins for a few minutes before gently removing to a wire rack to cool completely.