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