Hands up who doesn’t like mince pies? I love them myself but I know a lot of people who can’t stand dried fruit, but still like the warming flavours associated with Christmas. With that in mind I decided to create a recipe for alternative mince pies – full of spicy cinnamon, cloves and ginger but without the dried fruit.
I was sent some gorgeous Christmas goodies by Fortnum and Mason recently, with the challenge as part of the Fortnum’s Christmas campaign. I was asked to create a unique recipe or idea for using one or more of the ingredients. The box of goodies included Mulled Wine & Gold Leaf Preserve, Bucks Fizz & Gold Leaf Marmalade (so far scoring brownie points on providing sparkly food), No. 18 Madagascar Milk Chocolate and a huge jar of Christmas Port and Spice Mustard.
Wanting to create an alternative mince pie, I settled on the Mulled Wine Mince Pies pretty quickly, it was that or a chocolate pie! Here are a few more ideas for your Christmas feasting:
Stilton and port mustard pastry puffs – choux pastry puffs with Stilton and mustard cream filling
Mulled wine jelly chocolate truffles – jelly filled chocolate truffles
Marmalade glazed Christmas cake – warmed marmalade poured over your favourite Christmas cake
Mulled kir royale – dilute the jelly slightly, add to flutes and pour champagne over the top.
These pies are perfect if you love spices used in traditional Christmas desserts but find dried fruit offputting. The almond frangipane topping provides a nice fragrant flavour too.
Mulled Wine Frangipane Pies
For the pastry
225g very cold butter, grated
325g plain flour
1 large egg, beaten
zest of two clementines or one orange
Rub the grated butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs, add in the egg and the zest and start to work into a dough. This dough has quite a lot of butter, so it is fairly forgiving, meaning you can work it for a little longer. Once it has formed a dough, leave it to rest on the counter whilst you prepare your fillings.
For the filling
1 x 200g jar of mulled wine jelly
150g butter, softened
150g caster sugar
200g ground almonds
75g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla or orange extract, optional
flaked almonds to decorate
Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy. Add in the eggs and stir to combine, then fold in the almonds, flour, baking powder and extract.
Preheat your oven to gas mark 3 / 160c
Grease a 12 hole shallow fairy cake / cupcake tin with a little butter. Roll out your pastry to about 5mm thick and cut out circles for the bottom half of the pies. Place them in the tin and then put a scant teaspoon of the jelly into each (you don’t want too much otherwise the filling leaks out too much).
Top with a generous teaspoon of the almond mixture and spread over so that the jelly is covered up. Sprinkle with flaked almonds. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until the top is just golden brown. Cool in the tin for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack and dusting with icing sugar.
I was sent a hamper of goodies to review by Fortnum & Mason