Monday, 26 December 2016

Recipe: A Trio of Mince Pies

Variety is the spice of life and this is as true at Christmas time as it is during the rest of the year. Whilst I love traditional Mince Pies, I also like to ring the changes and vary my basic mince pies recipe to make other versions.
 
I am a huge fan of almonds and have always loved frangipane tarts and what could be better than combining frangipane with mincemeat to create Frangipane Mince Pies? There is something so wonderful about the combination of flavours which makes them impossible to resist. The flaked almonds add a pleasing crunch and the frangipane topping means that the individual pies do not dry out. Heavenly!

I always seem to have egg whites leftover after other baking projects so it seemed logical to use them to place a cloud-like puff of meringue on top of some mince pies. These pies are sweet but the contrast between the buttery pastry, the rich fruit filling and the light meringue is wonderful. Each recipe below makes 16 individual mince pies.
 
Mince Pies
Basic Pastry:
 
INGREDIENTS:
175g plain flour
50g icing sugar
100g cold butter, cubed
1 large egg yolk
2 tbsp cold water
 
METHOD:
  1. Sieve the flour and icing sugar together into a large mixing bowl. Add the diced butter and using your fingertips rub into the flour mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  2. Make a well in the centre and add the egg yolk and the water and mix together with a fork to bring everything together.
  3. Turn out onto a clean, lightly floured work surface and knead briefly. Form into a flat disc, wrap in cling-film and refrigerate for at least half an hour.
 
Makes 350g pastry.
 
Traditional Mince Pies
Traditional Mince Pies:
 
INGREDIENTS:
350g basic pastry (see recipe above)
Approximately 450g Mincemeat
 
METHOD:
  1. Preheat oven to 180C/Fan Oven 160C/Gas Mark 4. Thinly roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work-surface and using a 7cm round cookie cutter, stamp out rounds of the pastry. Use to line 16 individual patty tins.
  2. Place a generous teaspoon of mincemeat into each individual pastry shell.
  3. Using a pastry brush dampen the edge of each little pie with a little water or beaten egg and place another round of pastry on top. Seal the pies by pressing the edges together with the tines of a fork. Cut a little slit in the top of each pie to allow steam to escape.
  4. If you like you can stamp out star shapes and use these to top each mince pie instead.
  5. Place in the preheated oven for approximately 15 minutes until light golden brown.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Serve at room temperature dusted with icing sugar.
 
Makes 16 Mince Pies.
 
Frangipane Mince Pies
Frangipane Mince Pies
 
INGREDIENTS:
175g basic pastry (see recipe above)
100g butter, softened
100g caster sugar
2 large eggs
100g ground almonds
1 tbsp of plain flour
a couple of drops of almond extract
25g flaked almonds
 
METHOD:
  1. Preheat oven to 180C/Fan Oven 160C/Gas Mark 4. Thinly roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work-surface and using a 7cm round cookie cutter, stamp out rounds of the pastry. Use to line 16 individual patty tins.
  2. Place a generous teaspoon of mincemeat into each individual pastry shell.
  3. Frangipane Mince Pies
    To make the frangipane, place the butter and sugar into a mixing bowl and using a hand-held electric mixer beat together until light a fluffy. Add the eggs and beat together until fully incorporated. Next beat in the ground almonds, flour and almond extract.
  4. Place the mixture into a disposable piping bag fitted with 1cm plain nozzle. Pipe the mixture onto the top of each pie (don’t overfill as the mixture will spread out during baking). Scatter over a few flaked almonds.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 15 minutes until light golden brown.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
 
Makes 16 Frangipane Mince Pies.
 
Meringue Mine Pies
Meringue Mince Pies
 
INGREDIENTS:
175g basic pastry (see recipe above)
2 large egg whites
125g caster sugar
 
METHOD:
  1. Preheat oven to 180C/Fan Oven 160C/Gas Mark 4. Thinly roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work-surface and using a 7cm round cookie cutter, stamp out rounds of the pastry. Use to line 16 individual patty tins.
  2. Place the egg whites into a large spotlessly clean mixing bowl and using a hand-held electric mixer beat until the mixture forms stiff peaks.
  3. Add in the sugar gradually, mixing well after each addition to create a stiff and glossy meringue. Spoon the mixture into a disposable piping bag filled with a 1cm star nozzle and pipe a swirl of meringue on top of each mince pie.
  4. Place in the preheated oven for approximately 15 minutes until the meringue is tinged a light golden brown.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Makes 16 Meringue Mince Pies.


Traditional Mince Pies