Frangipane Mince Pies with Pear & Sherry Mincemeat

I cut this recipe out of a magazine some time ago but have only made it for the first time this year.  I changed many of the ingredients in the mincemeat filling (as indeed can you - just ensure that you have the same total weight of dried fruit & wet ingredients as in the recipe).  Ideally you should make this & leave it to mature for a couple of months in the larder however I made it & used it straight away & the results (so my darling friends told me, were very good indeed).  I served them with coffee around the fire pit the day after Lockdown 2 ended - what a lovely morning of puppies & chatter we had...

 

Pear & Sherry Mincemeat

INGREDIENTS

550 g dried fruit (I used raisins, cranberries & blueberries in whichever quantities you prefer)

50 g crystalised stem ginger, finely chopped

2 firm but ripe pears, cored & diced (no need to peel)

1/2 freshly grated nutmeg

Pinch ground cloves

Grated zest & juice of an orange

150 g suet (I prefer vegetarian but use what you have or substitute butter)

200 g light, soft brown sugar

3 tbsp decent brandy

250 ml Pedro Ximinez sherry

Place all of the ingredients except the alcohol into a large, oven-proof bowl & mix.  Place in a moderate oven for 10 minutes to begin to melt the suet.  Mix & return to the oven until the suet has completely melted.  Allow to cool before adding the brandy & sherry.  Pack into hot, sterilised jars & secure lids tightly.  The mincemeat will keep for up to 6 months unopened.  Once open store in the fridge & use within a week.

Frangipane Mince Pies

INGREDIENTS

200 g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

1 tbsp golden caster sugar

100 g cold butter, cubed

1 medium egg yolk

500 g Pear & Sherry Mincemeat

Icing sugar for dusting

Frangipane Topping

100 g butter, softened

100 g caster sugar

2 large eggs, beaten

100 g ground almonds

50 g plain flour

Few drops almond extract - optional

 

Heat the oven to 180 degrees C (170 fan oven) & grease 2, twelve-hole cupcake tins.  

To make the pastry place the flour, sugar & butter in a food processor & pulse to create fine breadcrumbs.  Add the egg yolk & pulse once or twice to incorporate.  Continue to pulse whilst adding sufficient iced water to form a dough.  Tip onto a lightly floured work surface & briefly knead to form a ball.  Shape into a disc, wrap in cling film & chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.

To make the frangipane whisk the sugar and butter until fluffy & then add the egg, beating until smooth.  Stir in the ground almonds, flour & almond extract if using to make a soft mixture.

Roll out the pastry to 3 mm thick & cut out 24 rounds using a cutter of an appropriate size for your tins (8-10 cm dia most probably).  Use the rounds to line the tins & then fill the cases with mincemeat (take care not to overfill as it will bubble over when hot & burn on the tins).  Divide the frangipane between the mincemeat-filled cases - it will spread so you don't need too much on each.  Sprinkle with the flaked almonds.  I had some extra pastry left over so cut out some star shapes to top a few extra mince pies in place of the frangipane.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 20-30 minutes until risen & golden.  Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes before removing & transferring to a wire rack.  Dust with icing sugar & serve warm or at room temperature.  They can be stored in an airtight tin & also freeze beautifully.  Serve with cream if you like & a glass of the delicious Pedro Ximinez which I love.

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Frangipane mince pies on our Slate & Acacia Serving Board alongside our Venezia Champagne Coupes and our little Pumpkin Tea Light holders

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Darling friends, dogs & ducks enjoying a post lockdown catch up around the fire pit

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