Chestnut Frangipane Mince Pies
“These become a colourful mince pie carnival, so good that they should not be just limited to the Christmas period. To dip in your breakfast coffee, morning tea, afternoon tea, with ice-cream for dessert, as a little treat with a nightcap. I made brown sugar pastry scented with vanilla, and given you some tempting ideas for original, pretty and delicious goodies to top the pies off. You can make the pies up to the point of adding the chestnut frangipane and then freeze them uncooked, in their tins, a month or so in advance. You then defrost them overnight, top them with the chestnut frangipane then continue as below”
by Merchant Gourmet Cook, Alex Mackay
Suitable for vegetarians
For the Pastry
- 350g plain flour
- 75g brown sugar
- 120g butter
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp water
- 24 tbsp (approx 480g), either homemade, or shop bought mincemeat
- 1 x 180g pouch of Merchant Gourmet Whole Chestnuts
- 80g icing sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for dusting
- 80g soft unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp brandy or rum (optional)
- 1 large egg yolk
- Mixture of dried fruit and pistachio nuts
- Pomegranate seeds
- Basil and/or citrus zest blended or ground with granulated sugar
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- To make the pastry, put the flour and brown sugar into your food processor. Add the butter and pulse just enough for the mixture to become grainy, it’ll look a bit like giant couscous. Add the egg yolk, vanilla essence and water. Pulse until the pastry is just combined. Tip it onto your work surface (get the pastry out, but don’t wash the bowl of your food processor) then knead the pastry briefly until it is smooth.
- Put the pastry onto a large piece of floured cling film. Pat the pastry to flatten it into a 30cm square. Wrap and then refrigerate for 30 minutes; just enough to make the pastry firm rather than hard.
- Next, make the chestnut frangipane. Remove the 6 biggest and prettiest whole chestnuts, cut them in quarters then set aside. Put the remaining chestnuts and the sugar into the bowl of the food processor that you used for your pastry. Blend for 1 minute. Add the butter, brandy or run (if using) and yolk then blend until combined. Set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 200C/Gas 6. Dust the pastry with flour. Roll out to a 50x40cm rectangle between two layers of floured clingfilm. Lift off the top layer of clingfilm. Cut out 24 circles with the 7cm pastry cutter, lift off the trimmings then squash them together. Wrap the trimmings in clingfilm and store for another batch.
- Gently push the pastry circles into the bottoms of the bun tins. Spoon a heaped dessertspoon (roughly 1 tbsp) of mincemeat into each pie. Cover with 1 heaped teaspoon frangipane. Smooth over with a small palette knife. Push a quarter half chestnut into the centre of each pie. Dust with icing sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden.
- Once cooked, top each pie with an individual topping
How'd you get on?
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