After the dishes for dinner were cleared up, I started on my second batch of mince pies for the day.
214. Frangipane Mince Pies
The isntructions for these pies are a bit vague... "make them the usual size but out of almond pastry... and top with a dollop of frangipane... Cook at gas mark6/200C for about 10 minutes, then at gas mark 4/180C for about another 15-20 minutes". I can't say I was inspired with confidence, so I turned to my copy of How to be a Domestic Goddess for guidance.
Nigella certainly seemed to have changed her Christmas tune between How to Eat and How to be a Domestic Goddess. Far from suggesting (as she does in How to Eat) that we buy in our Christmas puddings and mincemeat, she seems to have been imbued with the Christmas spirit. There are 4 Christmas cake recipes, the Christmas pudding recipe, 3 sauces, 3 mincepie recipes, 2 recipes for mincemeat and various other biscuits, cupcakes and sweet treats. Maybe next year I will be similarly inspired.
But back to the mincepie recipe - I used the frangipane recipe from How to be a Domestic Goddess with the almond pastry and mincemeat from How to Eat, and followed the cooking times and procedure from How to Eat. Also, after a whole day of baking, cooking, and washing dishes, I couldn't be arsed putting the fat and flour for the pastry in the deep freeze (as I normally would). So, I brazened it out by just chucking everything in the processor without the first chilling blast in the freezer. That probably wasn't the best idea, as the sweet almond pastry was an absolute biatch to work with, and certainly would have benefited from a pre-freeze. It kept breaking up on me, sticking to the bench and generally being quite messy. But I got there in the end, with careful and patient rolling and re-rolling.
The frangipane is much simpler than the fancy Italian name would have you believe - it's eggs, sugar, ground almonds and melted butter, lazily stirred together. Then you can just put a spoonful on top of each mince pie before scattering with flaked almonds. Easy.
In progress - mincemeat in yellow bowl at the back, frangipane in glass bowl at the front, random bowl behind tart tray.
Once I actually got the first 12 in the oven, the idea of rolling and cutting another 12 of the buggers was more than I could bear. So, I pulled out my 20cm fluted tart tin and made, as is suggested in How to be a Domestic Goddess, "one sliceable Bakewellian pudding". I cooked this one for about 35 minutes in total.
pies pies pies
3 styles of mince pies
Oh my God, the frangipane mince pies are insane! My dad had one, and immediately started effusively praising them.
Dad: Oh wow... these are good... these are soo good... you're good at baking... this is a Nigella recipe, right?... oh wow... fabulous, fabulous
The sweet pastry and the fragrant frangipane are just lovely, and have the most gorgeous crumbly texture. We were initially intending to take only half a pie each, but we ended up having 2. Each. Now that's what I'm talkin' about. The mini mini ones are good, but these are better. We haven't tried the big one yet, but I'll let you know how it goes.