Melt-in-the-mouth-mince pies made with almond pastry are a great favourite in our house at Christmas and funnily enough that’s the only time i make them. The almond pastry would go well with any tart or pie but i just never got round to making anything else with this pastry.
Almond pastry needs a little more care in handling than traditional flour pastry but it is well worth making.
Make your filling the day before.
- 1 kg of dried mixed fruit which includes candied peel
- 125g butter, softened
- grated zest of a lemon
- grated zest of a medium orange
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 250g dark brown soft sugar
- pinch of mixed spice
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 250ml of cranberry juice (you can use alcohol but i don’t use it myself)
In a large bowl, mix all the fruit, butter, zest and spices together till well combined. Dissolve the sugar in the cranberry juice,almond extract and pour it over the mixture. Cover and let stand overnight
Almond Pastry Ingredients
- 180 g plain flour
- 180 g icing sugar
- 100 g ground almonds
- ¼ tsp salt 1
- 35g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
- 2 small to medium eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 egg beaten to join pastry tops
- Place the flour, sugar, almonds and salt into a bowl and mix (you could do this is a food processor if you want). Add the butter and mix a few times until barely combined. Add the eggs and mix again until the pastry just comes together. The pastry should be soft but not sticking to your fingers. If it is add a little more icing sugar to firm it up a little.
- Divide the dough into two, form into balls, wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least an hour before use. This makes it easier to handle.
- 10 minutes before you use it let it stand at room temperature.
Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.
Roll out one of the balls of pastry on a lightly floured surface and cut 10 or 12 circles depending on the size and depth of your tin) with a round cutter. Push into the wells of a 12-hole muffin tin.
Spoon a heaped tbsp mincemeat into each case.
Re-roll the leftover pastry and cut out enough circles to cover the tops.This should be a size smaller cutter than you used for the bottoms.
Brush the edges of the cases with egg and press the tops on, then brush with egg again. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden. Leave to cool almost completely in the tin before lifting out. Serve dusted with a little icing sugar if you like.