- 100g soft pitted prunes, finely chopped (optional)
- 1 tbsp Armagnac or brandy (optional)
Brandy is a distilled spirit made from virtually any fermented fruit or starchy vegetable.…
- 450g shop-bought mincemeat or Quick-to-mix homemade mincemeat (see 'Goes well with' below, right)
It's a classic ingredient at Christmas in…
For the pastry
- 280g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 140g cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 4 tbsp golden caster sugar
- 1 large egg, beaten
The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition packed with protein and a…
For the topping
Put the flour in a large bowl with 1/4 tsp salt. Add the butter and rub it in with your fingertips until the mix looks like fine crumbs.
Stir in the sugar, then slowly pour in the egg, stirring with a cutlery knife as you go to avoid any overly wet or dry patches. Scrunch to a dough with your hands, then knead briefly until smooth. Alternatively, pulse together the butter, flour and salt in a processor, then add the sugar and egg. Shape into 2 discs, wrap in cling film and chill for 30 mins (if you have time).
Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Mix the prunes and Armagnac into the mincemeat and set aside. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface until 3mm thick, cut into circles with a 7.5cm or 8cm round plain cutter and gently press into 2 x 12-hole shallow, non-stick bun tins.
For the topping, beat together the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon, then add the flour, ground almonds, eggs, almond extract and a pinch of salt, and beat until smooth.
Spoon the mincemeat into the tin (about 1 dessertspoon into each). Spoon over the topping, then smooth it to the edges of the pastry with a palette knife. Scatter over the flaked almonds. Can now be frozen for up to 1 month.
Bake for 25 mins from room temperature (or 30 mins from frozen) until the pies are golden, risen and the pastry feels firm at the sides. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 mins before transferring to a cooling rack. Dust with icing sugar to serve. Can be stored in an airtight tin for up to 3 days once cold.
Speed it upInstead of making pastry from scratch, you can use a 500g pack of ready-made pastry.