frangipane mince pies with a zesty orange pastry


After discovering the joys of frangipane with Christmas mince and turning it into a tart, I wanted to make mince pies in a similar way because the buttery almond topping makes them so much better.

I used mince pie pastry dough to which I added the zest of one orange and found this added a fabulous fruity dimension. As is typical of what I do to recipes, along with changing a few ingredients, I often change the method to cut out what I deem to be unnecessary steps in the process.  This particular recipe required freezing butter which you had to flatten between sheets of cling and and then mix it by hand.

This was just so not going to work for me.  I always make my pastry in a food processor and just literally blitz it for the minimal amount of time especially after the flour has been added. I always rest in the fridge for a minimum of an hour and handle it as little as possible and then use a bottle of chilled water as a rolling pin to ensure that things remain as cool as possible.  I long for the day when I will have a kitchen big enough to accommodate a big fat marble slab for my pastry work, but in the meantime I find the top of my chest freezer is the bomb. Its the perfect height for me to press down on and I find the plastic covering really helps to prevent the pastry sticking.

This is the recipe for the pastry which makes about 36 mince pies (depending on the size). I only used half and made 12 big ones and 12 minis.  I will use the other half for more mince pies later or freeze it to line a tart in the future.  Pastry freezes very well. The pastry can be made in advance and will keep in your fridge for 4 – 6 days.

I use a ready made fruit mince because I find it delicious, but have every intention to make my own next year.

Recipe for the pastry:

  • 125gms caster sugar
  • 125gsm butter (cold)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
  • zest of an orange or half an orange if you only want a hint of flavour
  • 350gms plain flour (extra for dusting)
In a food processor mix the butter, salt, sugar and zest until combined.  Add the flour and the eggs and briefly blitz until you have an even crumb. Tip the loose mixture onto a surface and knead for the minimal amount of time until it comes together as a firm dough.  Cut in half and wrap in cling.  *Tip: My friend Lori flattens it out before wrapping it and chilling which makes the rolling part a bit later easier.

Chill for a min of an hour. Roll the pastry out on a floured surface, cut out rounds with a cookie cutter and line greased pastry cases or pans with a non stick cooking spray. Pre heat the oven to 180 C / 350 F.


  • 100gms castor sugar
  • 100gms butter
  • 100gms almond flour (finely ground almonds)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg

Additional ingredients:

  • A jar of Christmas fruit mince (about 425 gms)
  • flaked almonds
  • icing sugar to dust over

Using an electric mixer cream the butter and sugar mixture and then add the egg and vanilla and mix.  Add the almond flour and briefly mix again.

With a teaspoon scoop a dollop of the fruit mince into the pastry lined cases / pans and then top with a dollop of frangipane witch you will smooth over to be in line with the top of the pastry.  Put a few flaked almond slivers on top of this and bake for 15 – 20 minutes (depending on the size of your pies) and until they are golden brown.

These were taken to the carols by candlelight picnic at Kirstenbosch and eaten with the Gammon cooked in Coke with a honey mustard glaze.

with a light dusting of icing sugar these are for me the perfect mince pies and make a fantastic gift

These are my other Christmas recipes from this year:

traditional Christmas pudding:

mince pie frangipane tart

gammon cooked in coke with a spicy honey mustard glaze

traditional christmas pudding
cola gammon

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