A delicious variation on traditional Christmas Mince Pies, these little tartlets have a spiced fruity mixture on the pastry base and are topped with an almond frangipane and sliced almonds. I’m usually a purist when it comes to Mince Pies, but this combination is sublime and has become my new favorite. Bake up a big batch and stash them in the freezer for any guests who drop in over Christmas. Remember to leave Santa a couple on Christmas Eve to sustain him on his busiest night of the year.
Sweet Pastry Crust Ingredients
8oz All Purpose Flour or Gluten Free Flour (‘C4C’ Flour, or ‘Namaste’ are good brands)
2oz Almond Flour
2oz Superfine Sugar
Pinch of salt
5oz Butter, cold, cut into small cubes
Grated zest of one orange (about 1 tablespoon)
1 egg yolk
Ice Cold Water
Mincemeat Filling: 1/2 cup of your favorite Mincemeat
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons all purpose gluten free flour (I used ‘Namaste’ brand)
1/2 cup almond meal (sometimes called almond flour)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon orange zest
3 tablespoons sliced almonds
To prepare the tart shells:
1) Combine flour, almond meal, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse for 5 seconds to combine. Add the butter cubes and pulse again about 10 times or until the butter is cut into the flour and the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
2) Empty into a large mixing bowl and add the orange zest and egg yolk, along with 3 tablespoons of iced water. Using a table knife, bring the mixture together until it starts to hold into a semi firm dough, adding water one tablespoon at a time as necessary. The dough shouldn’t be too dry or it won’t roll easily and will crack, nor should it be too wet or you’ll have tough pastry. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured pastry board and using your hands, gently form the dough into one large ball. Divide the dough in half and cover one half with plastic wrap.
3) Roll out one half into an 1/8th inch thick round. Remember to keep the board and rolling pin lightly floured at all times and turn the dough so it doesn’t stick. Using 2 1/2″ pasty cutters press out rounds of pastry and press gently (a small ball of dough is the best way to tamp down the pastry) to fill each hole of the tart or muffin pan. Continue with remaining half of pastry dough.
4) When all the holes are filled, cover with plastic wrap and place the tins(s) in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
To make the Almond filling (Frangipane):
1) In the bowl of a food processor, add butter, salt, sugar, honey, flour, almond meal, almond extract, vanilla paste and pulse to combine. Add eggs and orange zest, continuing to pulse until smooth and set aside.
2) Bring out the pastry shells from the fridge. Spoon a teaspoonful of Mincemeat into each case and lightly spread out. Using a tablespoon measure or small ice cream scoop, evenly distribute the almond filling amongst the pastry cases, then sprinkle sliced almonds over the top.
3) Bake the tarts for about 15 minutes, or until the tops are lightly browned and puffed. Leave for 5 minutes in the tin then gently lift each tartlet onto a cooling rack. Dust generously with icing sugar before serving.