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Chestnut Frangipane Mince Pies

Chestnut Frangipane Mince Pies

“This is a mince pie carnival. I have used brown sugar pastry with the temping scent of vanilla, and given you some tempting ideas for original, pretty and delicious goodies to top the pies off”

by Merchant Gourmet Cook, Alex Mackay

  • Serves 8

  • 60 Minutes

  • 3 pans

  • Proficient

Suitable for vegetarians

Whole Chestnuts

Ingredients

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

Chestnut Frangipane

Jewelled topping

  • 1 tsp icing sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 40g dried cranberries
  • 5 dried apricots, chopped to the same size as the cranberries
  • 40g shelled pistachio nuts

Pomegranate topping

  • 1 Pomegranate

Basil and citrus sugar topping

  • Zest of 1/4 grapefruit, 1/4 lemon and 1/4 orange (or just one of the fruits)
  • 20 basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar

Dulce de Leche Topping

Orange zest, dried cranberry and mint

  • 72 dried cranberries
  • Zest of 2 oranges
  • 4 large leaves of mint, finely slice

Instructions

Makes 24, 7cm pies

Prep ahead 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.

1. Preheat your oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6

2.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. Add the egg yolk, vanilla essence and water. Pulse until the pastry is just combined. Tip it onto your work surface (get all of the pastry out, but there is no need to wash the bowl of your food processor before the next step) then knead the pastry briefly until it is smooth

3.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

4.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 icing sugar into the bowl of the food processor that you used for your pastry. Blend for 1 minute. Add the butter and egg yolk then blend until combined. Set aside

5. 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

6.Gently push the pastry circles into the bottoms of the bun tins

7.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 chestnut quarter into the centre of each pie. Dust with icing sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden

Variations 

Jewelled 

Mix the icing sugar and lemon juice together. Add the other ingredients and toss gently until they are glazed. Spoon the jewels over the top of the cooked mince pies

Pomegranate

Break the pomegranate open and separate the seeds from their white chambers over a bowl. Use the prettiest seeds to top your mince pies then eat the rest with their juice and some yoghurt for breakfast

Basil and Citrus

Grind together in a mortar and pestle or small food processor

Dulce de leche

Spoon the dulce de leche on top of the pies

Orange zest, dried cranberry and mint

Put 3 cranberries on top of each pie. Sprinkle the zest and mint over the top

How'd you get on?

If it turned out well, why not take a quick snap of your masterpiece and share the love? Remember to tag us!

Got any suggestions or improvements or tips? Let us know!

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