I'm rather partial to a mince pie or seven at this time of year, but find that too much pastry can be a bit dry. Here's a recipe for a batch of 24 mince pies - 12 topped with crumble topping, and 12 topped with that beautifully light almond sponge known as frangipane.
For mince pies with wow factor, a bit out of the ordinary, these really fit the bill. The pastry is rich and melt-in-the-mouth, the toppings different and delicious, and an extra slug of brandy really perks up even shop-bought mincemeat.
There are just two pictured as Mr F. has eaten the rest. (And you think I'm joking...)
Frangipane-topped and Crumble-topped Mince Pies
For the pastry:
- 350 g plain flour
- 230 g salted butter
- 90 g ground almonds
- 100 g caster sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon water
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 kg mincemeat homemade is best, or if shop-bought, add an extra tablespoon or two of brandy! Don't forget to check that the suet used is vegetarian.
For the Crumble Topping:
- 75 g plain flour
- 40 g ground almonds
- 95 g butter
- 25 g demerera sugar
- 25 g caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon flaked almonds
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the Frangipane Topping:
- 100 g butter
- 100 g caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 100 g ground almonds
- 1 tablespoon plain flour
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- Preheat your oven to 180ºC.
- Make the pastry: Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the ground almonds and sugar, then add the egg yolks and water and bring together with your hands to form a paste. Wrap in cling film and chill for 20 minutes.
- Roll out thinly and cut into circles just larger than the holes of your muffin tins. Line all 24 holes and trim off any excess pastry. Chill in the fridge until required.
- For the Crumble Topping: Rub the butter into the flour and ground almonds - don't worry if there are still a few lumps of butter. Stir through the sugars and cinnamon and set aside.
- For the Frangipane Topping: Cream together the butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy. Whisk in the eggs, then stir through the flour, ground almonds and almond extract.
- To assemble, put 1 dessert spoon of mincemeat into each pastry case. Top 12 cases with crumble topping and 12 with frangipane. Place in the oven (ideally with frangipane tray on top shelf, crumble tray on bottom shelf), and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and frangipane sponge is firmly set.
- Serve immediately, or else freeze in their trays, then transfer to freezer bags. Defrost and refresh for 5 minutes in the oven before serving.