Is it really Christmas without sweet mince pies?! Ok now that may be a little bit of a bold statement, but what isn’t is that there is no comparison between shop bought and homemade mince pies, and that’s why we just had to bring you this recipe that’s full of festive joy.
Ok, first things first, these are sweet mince pies – they contain mincemeat not minced meat – that’s usually the first question that is asked when Mince Pies are mentioned. Their title is misleading, but we can assure you it’s all fruit and no meat.
The ingredients of a mince pie as we know it are traceable to 13th century Britain when returning Crusaders brought with them Middle Eastern recipes containing meats, fruits and spices. Initially they went through several name changes, one of which was actually Christmas Pie.
Also, initially they were much bigger than they are nowadays, and also oblong shaped, which was thought to represent the coffin or crib that Jesus was laid in – very cheerful.
And on a similar theme the original recipes used to feature 13 ingredients to represent Christ and the 12 Apostles, but again this has changed over the centuries.
Ok that’s enough of the history lesson.
We are upping the Christmas feel to this recipe though, as these are made with almond pastry. Technically that means they’re not legit mince pies, which are usually made with shortcrust or some regular pastry, but hey it’s not like they haven’t gone through transformations over the years before. The almond meal and extract in the pastry gives it a much shorter texture and more flavor.
Remember to dust them with powdered sugar too – after all it’s supposed to be frosty and snowy, and if you’d like it to feel more like a proper desert then why not add some pouring cream to it?
Almond Pastry Mince Pies Recipe
- 220 g (1 3/4 cup) all-purpose flour
- 85 g (3/4 cup + 1 tbsp) ground almonds
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 85 g (1/4 cup + 2 tbsp) granulated sugar
- 170 g (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 400 g (14 oz) mincemeat
- Cream or Milk, plus demerara (raw) sugar for sprinkling + brushing
- In a food processor: blend together the first 4 ingredients. Add in the butter and pulse until a crumbly texture is achieved. Add in the egg and almond extract and blend until a smooth dough forms.
- By hand: in a bowl, stir together the first 4 ingredients. Add the butter to the bowl and rub into the dry ingredients using your fingertips until a crumbly texture is achieved. Add the egg and almond extract, stir/knead together until a smooth dough forms.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours (it's quite soft dough, so it's easier to handle when it's cold).
- Preheat your oven to 180 C (350 F). Roll the chilled pastry out on a floured piece of parchment paper, using a well-floured rolling pin. It should be about 1/8-inch (3 or 4 mm) thick. Cut into circles (the size of them depends on your tartlet/pie tin. Normally it's around 2.5-inches or 7 cm diameter). Line each cavity of the pie tin with a circle of pastry. Fill with a heaped teaspoon of mincemeat. Re-roll the scraps of pastry and cut out stars for the tops. Top each pie with a star of pastry.
- Brush with cream or milk and sprinkle with demerara sugar.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown around the edges. Dust with powdered sugar.
- Serve them warm, with tea. Or cream. Or both……just remember to leave one for Santa! 😉
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