Almond mince pies

Almond mince pies
  • Serves icon Makes approx 10 (or 20 small) mince pies and about 1.8kg mincemeat
  • Time icon Hands-on time 1 hour 30 min, cook time 2 hours 20 min, plus chilling and overnight infusing

Emine Hassan’s almond mince pies are adapted from a family recipe, made with extra orange peel, almonds sultanas and fresh spices. (Seen on the left hand side of the image)

Ingredients

  • 340g sultanas
  • 250g raisins
  • 140g currants
  • 50g dried cranberries, finely chopped 
  • 250g / 3 Pink Lady apples, peeled and cubed
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • Zest of 2 oranges, juice of 3
  • 50g candied orange peel (optional)
  • 300g dark muscovado sugar 
  • 1 ball stem ginger, finely chopped
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp cloves 
  • 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp all spice
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 90g shredded suet
  • 90g unsalted butter, melted
  • 150g flaked almonds, toasted 
  • 160ml Grand Marnier, or ordinary cognac

For the almond shortcrust

  • 220g plain flour
  • 35g ground almonds
  • 75g icing sugar, plus extra to dust
  • 110g unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk, cold
  • ½ tsp almond extract 

Method

  1. Stir the dried fruit together in a large bowl. Dice the apples and add them to the bowl, grate over the lemon zest, squeeze in the juice and stir to coat the fruit.  Next add the orange zest and juice, sugar, spices, peel (if using) salt and fat then stir until everything is evenly coated. If using ordinary cognac, add the zest of the 3rd orange.  Carefully fold through the almonds. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave in a warm spot overnight, stirring occasionally to agitate the flavours. 
  2. Preheat oven to 110°C/90°C Fan. Transfer the mincemeat to a baking tray, cover the top with foil and bake for 2 hours. Set aside to cool slightly, and then stir in the alcohol. Lastly, transfer to sealable sterilised jars. The mincemeat will last for 2 years if stored in a cool and dark place, feed it with about 1 tbsp of brandy every couple of months for an added kick. The flavours improve a little over time, so these are perfect for a last minute mince pie knock-up.
  3. For the pastry, place the flour, ground almonds and icing sugar in a food processor and blitz for 10 seconds to combine. Add the cubed butter and pulse 3 to 4 times until rough breadcrumbs form. Put the processor on a slow blitz and pour in the eggs and almond extract, as soon as a ball of dough takes shape, stop the mixer. Pat the dough into a disc and wrap with clingfilm. Refrigerate until chilled, around 30 minutes. 
  4. Sprinkle a light film of flour over a work surface and roll the chilled dough to the thickness of a £1 coin. Cut an equal quantity of 3 inch and 3 ½ inch rounds and place the larger round into the bottom of individual foil pie cases, re-rolling the pastry as you go. Stab the bottoms with a fork and then spoon 1 tablespoon of mincemeat inside. Place the smaller rounds on top of the mincemeat and use the tines of a fork or a toothpick to press along the sides of the pie at an angle. If you prefer, you could use a Yorkshire pudding tray and dab water along the edges to seal the lid and bottom. 
  5. Pop the pies in the freezer for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C Fan. Place the pies in the fridge for 20 minutes, lightly brush the tops with milk and stab the tops of each in the centre with a toothpick. Bake for 15/20 minutes, until the tops of the pies are a light golden brown. Leave the pies to cool on a wire rack and then sprinkle with a generous dusting of icing sugar. 

Recipe By

Emine Hassan

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