Is this too much, too soon?
I can’t decide. Just like I can’t make my mind up whether that red tea-light holder was a good idea or not. I was trying to create ‘atmosphere’ but I have the distinct feeling that I should have left it out.
I don’t know.
This week has been pretty rubbish as first weeks of December go. I’m hoping next week will be better. You know how you can be innocently bumbling along and then all of a sudden the universe poos’on you a little bit? Yeah, that. Nothing major, but still something I am trying not to dwell on, because it won’t do me any good.
Anyway, mince pies . . . they make great comfort food. All those spices and flaky pastry can’t fail to lift your spirits a little, and this year I have dolloped some frangipane on the top, so there is sponge too.
Pastry, mincemeat and sponge all in one. Whoop, whoop!
I may have eaten one or two whilst photographing them. I did have to cut one in half so I couldn’t leave it like that, could I? And then it would have been lonely in my tummy, so it needed a friend. Mince pies should always be eaten in pairs. It’s one of the Christmas rules.
I didn’t add any almond extract to the frangipane mix as I didn’t want the flavour of almonds, just the dense sponge that they create. If you would like an almond flavour, add just a dribble.
However if the thought of sponge on your mince pie makes you cringe, then the link to last years’ traditional mince pies is below (in the recipe bit). Just please excuse the photography. We all live and learn.
Frangipane Mince Pies
For the Pastry:
- 100g rice flour
- 50g sorghum flour, or gram / garbanzo bean or buckwheat flour
- 2 tbsp polenta (fine ground cornmeal)
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp psyllium husks or 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- 75g butter, cold and cubed (plus a little extra, softened, for greasing the tin)
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- zest and juice of an orange
- 1 egg yolk
- 411g jar of mincemeat (you won’t use it all)
For the Frangipane:
- 50g butter, softened
- 50g caster sugar
- 1 large egg
- 50g ground almonds
- Flaked almonds for decoration
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 Celsius / 160 fan / 350 Fahrenheit. Grease the cavities of the tin with a little butter.
- Using either a stand mixer or your hands, place the flours, polenta and ground cinnamon in a bowl. Add the butter and mix (or rub between your finger-tips) until it resembles bread crumbs.
- Add the sugar, psyllium husks and the orange zest and mix.
- Add the egg yolk followed by the clementine juice, gradually adding it until the mixture starts to form a dough. Using your hands, bring the dough together in the bowl, adding more liquid a little at a time if needed (if you run out of juice, use water instead) until it forms a ball. It should feel quite moist.
- Leave the dough to sit for 30 minutes to allow the psyllium husks to become gummy. If you are using xanthan gum then there is no need to let it sit.
- Make the frangipane by creaming together the butter and sugar in a small bowl until pale and fluffy. Beat in the egg then mix in the ground almonds. Set aside.
- Roll the dough out between two pieces of cling-film until it is approximately 5mm thick (do this is two batches if it is easier). Using a round fluted cutter, cut out the bases for the pies and place in the tray. Gather the pieces of dough together and re-roll as required, until you have used as much of the dough as possible.
- Place a heaped teaspoon of mincemeat into each pie and then top with a teaspoon of the frangipane mix. Top with flaked almonds.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown all over.
- Allow the pies to cool for 10 minutes in the tray before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Dust with icing sugar to serve.
© The Pink Rose Bakery 2014
Adapted from my Mince Pie recipe.