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We may not put our Christmas tree up much before Christmas Eve on the plot but we do know how to prep for Christmas in other ways – usually culinary. Once we’re into December it’s time for a few batches of mince pies for consumption at coffee time.

To be frank the apprentices are not altogether keen on mince pies. I’ve tried making them with star-shaped lids and sprinkling liberally with edible gold glitter but to no avail. So this year I have attempted to pull in the big guns. Mary Berry is a goddess here since The Great British Bake Off (and yes, the book is on their Christmas wishlists!) so I’m attempting a conversion worthy of St Paul with some of her Frangipane Mince Pies

Here’s the recipe.  Deep  mince-pie tins  are best  and a 6.5cm cutter. This will make about 18 pies.

PASTRY

  • 175g plain flour
  • 75g butter, cut into cubes
  • 25g icing sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten

FRANGIPANE

  • 100g butter, softened
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 1 level tbsp plain flour
  • 1⁄2 tsp almond extract, or to taste

FILLING AND TOPPING

  • just under 1 x 410g jar home made or good brandy infused shop-bought mincemeat
  •  a few flaked almonds
  • apricot jam to glaze
  • lemon juice

 Preheat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.

  1. To make the pastry, measure the flour, butter and icing sugar into a food-processor bowl, then process until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Pour in the beaten egg and pulse the blade until the dough starts to form a ball. Knead lightly, wrap and chill for about 30 minutes if the pastry is not quite firm enough to roll out.
  2. To make the frangipane, put the butter and sugar into the unwashed processor and blend until soft and creamy. Scrape down the sides, add the eggs and continue to process. Don’t worry if the mixture looks curdled at this stage. Add the ground almonds, flour and almond extract, and mix briefly.
  3. Roll the pastry out thinly on a lightly floured work surface and cut into 18 x 6.5cm circles. Use to line the tins. Spoon a teaspoon of mincemeat into each tartlet and top with the frangipane mixture. There is no need to spread the mixture flat as it will level out in the oven (but do not overfill the tins). Sprinkle a few flaked almonds on top.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-17 minutes, watching carefully. Remove from the tins and allow to cool a little on a wire rack.
  5. Dilute the apricot jam with a little lemon juice or water and bring to the boil. Brush each warm tartlet with glaze. Like traditional mince pies, these are best served warm.

Delicious. I’m giving them a whirl as the after school snack with hot chocolate. Mary Berry. I hope you’re good.