“The build-up to the festive season wouldn’t be the same without mince pies, and it’s a tradition I am more than happy to embrace – I just love them! I’ve added a little continental twist to this recipe and added Nielsen-Massey to bring the pastry to life!” –Eric Lanlard, Master Pâtissier.
Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus marinating
Cooking time: 20 minutes
For the mincemeat
250g golden sultanas
250g natural glacé
100g mixed peel
125g unsalted butter
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground mixed spice
1 tsp Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Extract
finely grated zest of 1 orange
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
250g dark muscavado sugar
250ml amaretto liqueur
For the pies
butter, for greasing
250g short crust pastry
plain flour, for dusting
250g ready-made or homemade puff pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten
15g light muscavado sugar
Put all the dried fruit and spices into a large bowl and mix thoroughly.
Place the Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Extract, grated zest, sugar and amaretto in a small saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved – do not let it boil.
Pour over the mixed fruit and stir gently, without breaking up the fruits.
Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave to infuse for 48 hours.
Pack the mincemeat into sterilised jars and seal. Store in a cool dark place for a couple of weeks to allow the flavours to mature.
When you are ready to make the mince pies, preheat the oven to 180°C (fan 160°C)/350°F/gas mark 4.
Grease 6 x individual 10cm (4in) diameter loose-bottomed tartlet tins. Roll out the shortcrust pastry thinly on a lightly floured surface and use to line the tins.
Generously fill the pastry cases with the mincemeat (this will use approximately 500g).
Roll out the puff pastry thinly on a lightly floured surface and brush it with the beaten egg.
Using a star-shaped cutter, cut out 6 star shapes, or any shape you like, to cover the tart and place them on top of the mincemeat. Sprinkle with the light muscovado sugar.
Bake in the oven for 25–30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and the stars have all puffed up. Serve warm with some crème fraîche drizzled with amaretto and sprinkled with roasted flaked almonds – heaven!