How to make frangipane mince pies

Richard Bertinet’s step-by-step guide has an impressive end result. These mince pies, with a pistachio frangipane topping, will quickly become a family Christmas favourite.

How to make frangipane mince pies

You will need

Hands-on time 30 min, oven time 25 min, plus chilling

1. For the pastry, sift the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Bash the cold butter with a rolling pin between 2 sheets of baking paper until thin and pliable – don’t let it get too warm and soft, though.

2. Roughly slice, then use your fingertips to rub it into the flour mix until it resembles breadcrumbs. Beat the eggs and yolk together briefly, then, using a flat-bladed round knife, gradually work it into the flour mixture until it binds together – you may not need all the egg.

3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for a few seconds. Shape into a square, then cut in half and wrap in baking paper or cling film and chill for 30-60 minutes.

4. To make the frangipane, put the pistachios in a food processor and whizz until fine. Stop as soon as the nuts have the texture pictured – any more and they’ll start to release their oils and turn greasy. Tip out into a bowl and set aside.

5. Beat the 200g butter in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer until very soft. With the mixer running, add the sugar, pistachios and ground almonds. Add the flour, then the eggs, then finally the liqueur. Once combined, transfer the frangipane to a small bowl, cover and chill for 15 minutes.

6. Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. To assemble the pies, roll out one of the chilled pastry halves on a lightly floured surface to about the thickness of a £1 coin.

7. Using an 8cm fluted cutter, stamp out 18 rounds. Lightly oil the holes in the fairy tins, then line with the pastry circles. You’ll need to re-roll the trimmings a couple of times. If you’re doing this in batches, only stamp out as many as you need at a time (depending on the number of holes in your tin), to prevent the pastry becoming too warm. You may need to chill the lined tin for about 30 minutes to firm up the butter if the pastry is looking greasy.

8. Mix the marmalade with the mincemeat in a bowl, then drop a teaspoon of the mixture into each pastry case. Cover the mincemeat with the pistachio frangipane using a dessert spoon.

9. Sprinkle the mince pies with the extra chopped pistachios, then bake for around 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the pies from the tin, then leave to cool before dusting with icing sugar, if you like. Repeat with the remaining chilled pastry.

Make the pies up to 3 days in advance, then warm through gently in a medium oven for about 5 minutes (or serve at room temperature, if you like). Or freeze the pies in the tin before baking at the end of step 8, wrapped in cling film, for up to a month. Bake from frozen, adding 5 minutes to the cooking time. 

Richard’s tips for success

  • I make my pastry and chill it for up to 2 days, as it makes it easier to fit baking into a busy day. The dough is easier to roll, too, as the gluten relaxes and makes the pastry pliable.
  • You can make the frangipane a day or two in advance. It freezes well, too. If you have any left over, use it to fill a galette des rois.
  • If you don’t like orange liqueur, use rum, brandy or amaretto instead.

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