Mince pies are undoubtedly one of the joys of Christmas – and even more so when they're homemade. We persuade Chantelle Nicholson, pastry pro and chef-patron of Tredwell's, to share her recipe with us.
- 1 large cooking apple, grated
- Zest of 1 orange
- 100g pitted prunes, finely chopped, soaked in 100ml brandy
- 50g dried cranberries, finely chopped
- 1 whole nutmeg, grated
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- Pinch ground cloves
- 1 tsp black treacle
- 500g Christmas fruit mince
- 100g butter, softened
- 100g sugar
- 2 eggs
- 100g ground almonds
- 50g flour
- 25g amaretto (or a drop or two of almond essence)
- 215g soft butter
- 285g caster sugar
- 565g strong flour
- 15g baking powder
- 7g salt
- 250g double cream
- Mix butter and sugar in a mixer on slow speed until just mixed.
- Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt together. Add half of the flour mix to the sugar and butter and mix until a smooth paste.
- Add rest of flour and bring to breadcrumb stage. Mix in double cream slowly until a smooth dough if formed (the dough may not take all the double cream).
- Turn out onto a bench, knead a little then clingfilm and rest for 2 hours before using.
- Dip the sweet paste in flour then place on a sheet of baking paper. Roll out to approximately 3mm thick then flour well and leave to rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.
- Remove and, using a circle cutter, cut out the desired circle sizes you require.
- For the mince mix; combine all ingredients and set aside ideally marinate for as long as possible but at least overnight. Puree ⅓ of the mix then add back to the chunky mix.
- For the frangipane; cream the butter and sugar then fold in the remaining ingredients and combine well. Place into a piping bag and set aside.
- To assemble the tarts; preheat your oven to 180°C. Line the tart cases with the pastry disc then 2/3 fill with the mince mix.
- Pipe a good dollop of frangipane on top then place in the oven until the frangipane turns a pale golden colour (approximately 15 minutes).
- If you wish; douse with a good splash of amaretto when they come out of the oven; then leave to cool (if you can!).