To me, patisserie trumps cake every time. I would rather create mile high chocolate pie than a sugar crafted marzipan laden cake. We all have our culinary preferences, and one of mine is the making and eating of crisp, buttery, flaky or short pastry.
Sadly, as middle age becomes more of a dwelling place than a destination, I tend to restrict my sweet treats. However the Festive season offers a perfect excuse for making these frangipane mince pies, all dolled up with flaked almonds and flecks of pearl sugar. A little like bakewell mincemeat tarts!
Frangipane might seem a mighty fine name, but it really is very simple – a mixture of egg, sugar, almond and melted butter. Rather like a cake batter but with almond instead of flour. Here it makes a light, fluffy and delicate topping to the spiced fruit filled tarts.
I rather like Nigella’s recipe for Cranberry mincemeat – it is fresh, fruity and not overly sweet or sticky. I make a big batch and keep a jar ready for entertaining emergencies over the Christmas season.
You do not need to worry about being over precise about the layers in these tarts – if a little of the mincemeat pokes through the frangipane no matter. The topping will melt and spread as it cooks and will not detract from the combination of crisp pastry, spiced fruit and a thin layer of almond sponge.
Recipe notes – feel free to use shop bought pastry and mincemeat. If you have a food processor though, making pastry is a matter of minutes and considerably cheaper.
- 250g plain flour
- 125g Butter cut into cubes
- 1 egg
- Orange Juice (a couple of tablespoons).
- 1 egg
- 45g Caster Sugar
- 45g butter
- 45g Ground almonds
- teaspoon vanilla essence
- 1 jar of mincemeat (home made or shop bought as you please)
- 2 tablespoons flaked almonds
- 2 tablespoons nibbed sugar
- Put the Flour and Butter into a processor and blitz into breadcrumbs.
- Add the egg and pulse to combine it in. Then slowly pour in the orange juice a dribble at a time until the mixture starts to form into a ball.
- Remove from food processor, shape into a fat disc, wrap in cling film and chill for an hour.
- To make the frangipane mixture. In a plastic bowl, using an electric whisk if possible, beat the egg and sugar until glossy.
- Melt the butter in the microwave and then slowly pour into the egg mixture, beating all the time and then add in the ground almonds. Add a teaspoon of vanilla essence.
- To assemble the mince pies:
- Preheat oven to 180DegC
- Roll out the chilled disc of pastry to about 5mm thin. Cut circles of pastry and push gently into the moulds of a 12 cup baking tin.
- Add a tablespoon of mincemeat and flatten the top.
- Pour a tablespoon of Frangipane over the mincemeat.
- Top with a scatter of flaked almonds and nibbed sugar.
- Bake for around 15 minutes when the Frangipane and pastry are brown.
- Cool on a wire rack.
We will be posting festive sweet treat recipes over the next few weeks, balanced out with some easy fuss free meals to get you through the darker evenings ahead.