The ultimate Christmas treat. These Frangipane Mince Pies are a creative take on the traditional mince pie. With a delicate pastry base, fruit filling and frangipane topping, the combination is both festive and delicious.
Christmas isn't Christmas without the opportunity to eat plenty of mince pies. These Frangipane Mince Pies are my take on the classic. I guarantee that Santa will love a couple set my the fireplace alongside a glass of milk (or brandy!).
With the signature all-butter pastry base and delicious fruit filling, these mince pies have been given a delicious twist. With a topping of almond frangipane and flaked almonds instead of a pastry top, you'll love this rendition.
❓ What are Frangipane Mince Pies?
First up though, 'what exactly are Frangipane Mince Pies?' I hear you asking. They're individual sized mini pies. Made with an all butter pastry, each pie is filled with a sweet mincemeat filling (I'll go into what that is in a little bit! But no, there's no actual meat in these!)
I first saw Great British Bake Off baking queen, Mary Berry, make her version of these and I couldn't wait to create my own. The frangipane refers to an Italian almond cream that tops the fruit filling. It's a delectable cream made predominantly with ground almonds, butter, sugar and eggs.
In a regular mince pie, the fruit filling is surrounded by pastry sides and base but also top. In our mince pies, the frangipane with some crunchy flaked almonds forms the top of the mini pie and the combination is divine!
🌟 Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Uses basic ingredients. All the ingredients are basic pantry or fridge staples. The ready made filling is available in your local supermarket or easy to make your own.
- Budget friendly. The ingredient list, especially if you buy store made mince pie fruit filling that you can jazz up, isn't pricey.
- Festive, holiday favourite. Christmas isn't Christmas without mince pies. Put the Christmas play list on, get into your cozy PJ's and enjoy a Frangipane Mince Pie or two in front of your twinkling Christmas Tree.
🧾 Ingredients Needed
Frangipane Mince Pies are made up of three components, the pastry, fruit filling and frangipane. I have a couple of notes on particular ingredients that is worth a look at.
I've opted to use a simple all butter pastry for these Frangipane Mince Pies. It's flakey, crisp and not sweet which pairs perfectly with the sweet fruit filling and almond cream.
If time is short, or you have no inclination to make your own pastry - then use store bought - it'll still taste delicious!
- Butter - Use unsalted butter as the caramel filling has salt in it, and you don't want to overdo it with salt. Make sure the butter is cubed and cold before working it into the flour.
- Water - The flour and butter need hydration to bring the dough together. Don't add it all at once, as you may not need it all.
- Salt - If using salted butter then omit the salt, but salt in some form is needed to season the pastry and layer the flavour.
Frangipane (Almond Cream)
I have a whole article going into How to Make Frangipane. It's such a versatile filling that can be added to so many different desserts. Make sure to check it out.
- Butter - I prefer unsalted butter so that I can control the level of salt in the filling. It must be at room temperature to be creamed well with the sugar.
- Sugar & Salt- Regular granulated white sugar is used. But you can use golden too and also caster sugar. The salt helps season the cream, adding flavour.
- Eggs - I've used large eggs in the frangipane cream. You can add an extra yolk if you want extra creaminess.
- Ground Almonds - Also referred to as almond meal, it has a slightly courser in texture than almond flour and provides a lovely texture to the frangipane. You can also use almond flour, but being more finely ground, the overall texture will be smoother. If using whole almonds, you'll need to grind them in the food processor first.
What is Mince Meat?
Back in the day, think the 1400's, minced meat (actual meat) and fruit were used to fill pies at Christmas time. Since then the meat has been relegated to the side (thank goodness!), but the spiced fruit remains, encased in a flakey pastry.
These days mincemeat is made of dried fruits such as raisins, sultanas, distilled spirits, citrus peel and spices. The combination of flavours creates a complex blend of fruit and spices that is totally unique to these pies.
Made in advance (at least a month!), the flavours develop a richness that's like no other. Traditionally, mince pies are filled with this fruit filling, and enjoyed cold or hot with a brandy cream or hot custard.
Making homemade mince pie filling isn't hard, it just takes a fair few ingredients. Whilst in the past I've made a delicious Amaretto Mince Pie Filling, sometimes it's easier to use store bought. Any store bought will do as you can expand on the flavour with the addition of alcohol, citrus zest and more dried fruit!
Homemade Mince Pie Filling: If you are making your own filling, the standard fruits to use are sultanas, raisins, currants, and mixed peel. Elevate it with the addition of cranberries, dates, grated apple or cherries along with an alcohol of your choice such as Amaretto, brandy or rum.
Pastry: Add spice into the pastry such as cinnamon or ginger. Or rub in some orange or lemon zest for a citrus hit. Create a ground almond pastry by subbing out a ¼ cup of flour with almond meal/flour.
Almond Frangipane: I've flavoured the frangipane with some orange zest for a little citrus kick. I thought I had Cointreau in my liquor cabinet but it turns out I didn't. A tablespoon of two in the fruit filling would have been amazing!
Marzipane Mince Pies: Grate Marzipane into the fruit filling for additional flakes of sweet almond goodness!
Mincemeat Frangipane Tart: Instead of making mini tartlets, this recipe can be used to make one 23cm (9-inch) tart. I suggest blind baking the base. Instructions to do this can be found in my Pecan Tart recipe.
👩🏻🍳 How to Make
I'm now going to take you step by step into making the three components of these Christmas Frangipane Tartlets. The pastry, mince pie filling and Frangipane are not complicated to make.
Don't be worried about the pastry- I promise that you can make homemade. The pastry can be made the day before to keep the work load lighter on the day.
Once the pastry is made, the recipe comes together easily as I've opted to use store-bought mince meat to cut down on hands on time. The frangipane is then made in only a matter of minutes. All in all, it's a delightful, festive recipe to get stuck into.
*Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full ingredients list & instructions!*
Make All-Butter Pastry
STEP 1. Rub the butter into the flour. The butter should be cold, cold, cold before rubbing the two together. Rub until you have a combination of breadcrumb sizes pies and peas sizes pieces (Image 1).
STEP 2. Add water. Drizzle in half of the ice cold water and mix through. Add a little more as the dough hydrates and as needed. When squeezed together the dough should clump (Images 2 & 3). You definitely don't want to drench it in water!
STEP 3. Form the dough and refrigerate. Bring the dough together with your hands and form it into a disc. Wrap well with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour minimum (Images 4).
TIP: Don't over work or knead the dough when bringing it together. This only activates the gluten too much and creates a tougher, less flakey butter pastry for the mince pies.
Roll Out the Dough and Fill
STEP 4. Roll out the dough and cut out rounds. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it come to room temp for 10-15 minutes. Trying to roll out frigid dough will only cause it to crack.
On a lightly floured surface. Roll out the dough to the thickness of a coin (¼ inch). Using a 9cm (3.5 inch) diameter cookie cutter, stamp out as many rounds as you can (Images 5 & 6).
STEP 5. Add to cupcake tray and fill. I use a standard cupcake tray to make these Frangipane Mince Pies in. But I do know that there are trays that are shallower, specifically for mince pies. Either will work.
Flour the tray lightly and place a dough cutout into each hole, pressing it against the base and sides until flush (Images 7 & 8). If using a cupcake pan, the dough won't reach the top of the mould.
Fill the dough with a heaped tablespoon of fruit filling, until ¾ full (Images 9 & 10).
TIP: If you want a little boozy kick to the fruit filling, then add it in and give the filling a quick stir before filling the pastry cases.
Alcohol such as cointreau, amaretto, rum or whisky works well. 1 to 2 tablespoons should do the trick.
Make the Almond Cream and Top the Mince Pies.
STEP 1. Infuse the sugar with orange then cream with the butter. Rub the orange zest into the sugar to release the oils and flavour the sugar (Image 11).
Then add the butter and using electric hand-held beaters (or stand mixer), cream the butter and orange sugar together until pale and creamy.
STEP 2. Add eggs and then dry ingredients. Whisk the eggs lightly and then add them to the butter mix. Beat for a minute or so, it may look a little curdled, but not to worry (Image 12).
Add in the ground almonds, flour and salt and beat until fully combined, thick and creamy (Images 13 & 14).
STEP 3: Top the fruit filling. Fill a zip-lock/sandwich bag (or small piping bag), like I did, snip a large hole and pipe the frangipane filling over the mince meat. Or you can easily spoon a couple of tablespoons over the top. Which ever method works for you (Image 15).
Sprinkle the flaked almonds over each of the almond cream covered pies (Images 16 & 17).
STEP 4: Bake. Usually I like to blind bake pastry to ensure a crisp base. But these are so small that we don't need to take that extra step (which is a bit fiddly with such small pies.)
Bake for 25-30 minutes until the pastry is crisp and tops are golden (Images 17 & 18). I will say that you should tent the whole cupcake pan in foil for the first 15 minutes to prevent the Frangipane from browning too much. Take it off for the last 10-15 minutes.
🥣 How To Serve
Once baked, leave them in the pan for 10 minutes then remove them and place the Frangipane Mince Pies onto a cooling rack. Dust with a little powdered icing sugar and enjoy warm or cold - it's at your discretion!
You can also serve them with a drizzle of custard or creme anglaise. A dollop or creme chantilly or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Whatever takes your fancy! The only thing is to enjoy every bite!! Alongside mulled wine or a sweet dessert wine is also dreamy. These truly are the perfect Holiday frangipane tartlet recipe!
💭 Recipe Pro Tips
- Use cold butter for the dough. If you don't you the pastry will seep out the butter during baking and you'll be left with a greasy mess.
- Don't over work the dough. Instead of kneading the dough, try just to squeeze it together until you feel it clumping. Over worked dough will lead to tough, not very flakey pastry.
- Jazz up your mince pie fruit filling. This is your opportunity to get creative with flavours. Alternatively, if you love a classic, then stick with your favourite basic filling.
- Keep going if the frangipane looks curdled. Don't sweat - this is normal. Ass soon as you add in the ground almonds and flour, the mixture will come together.
- Tent the cupcake pan when baking. The frangipane can brown to quickly and dry out if you don't tent the pies at the start. The pastry needs enough time in the oven to prevent undercooked bottoms. We're aiming for crisp pastry bottoms!
📋 Recipe FAQs
Whilst they are both made from almonds and used in desserts, they are quite different. Frangipane is a creamy spreadable filling used in tarts or pastries.
Marzipan, or almond candy dough as it's known in the US, is a denser almond paste that is used to decorate cakes with or to form into shapes such as fruit.
You'll know when the frangipane is properly baked as it will puff up onto of the mini pie and when pressed gently in the middle, it will spring back.
They used to be in the olden days, hence the name, but not anymore!! These days the mince meat refers to the fruity, flavour-packed filling.
Traditional Mince Pie fruit filling contains suet which is a product derived from meat. If you want to make these vegetarian then you would either have to find a vegetarian brand from your store or make your own vegetarian fruit filling omitting the suet.
❄️ Storage and Freezer Instructions
To store: Keep homemade Frangipane Mince Pies in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to one week.
To freeze: The baked pies do freeze exceptionally well. Once cooled, place them in a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Re-crisp the pastry by baking the pies for 10 minutes in a 180C (350F) oven.
🎄 More Holiday Dessert Recipes
If you tried these Frangipane Mince Pies recipe, or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you go in the comments below. I love hearing from you!
Festive Frangipane Mince Pies Recipe
All Butter Pastry
- 220 g plain flour (all-purpose)
- ¼ teaspoon fine salt
- 115 g unsalted butter
- 45-60 ml ice cold water
- 350 g mincemeat (fruit filling)
Almond Cream (Frangipane) Topping
- 1 zest of orange
- 100 g granulated sugar
- 115 g unsalted butter
- 2 large eggs
- 100g ground almonds (almond meal)
- 20 g plain flour (all-purpose)
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- 30 g flaked almonds
- 1 tablespoon powdered icing sugar
Make the Pastry
- Rub the butter into the flour. Into a large mixing bowl, add the flour and salt and quickly mix together. Add cubed butter and toss until coated. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour until the butter is the size of large peas.
- Add in water and bring the dough together. Add in the water a little at a time and use your fingers tips to gently toss the mixture together until the dough starts to hold when pressed.
- Form the dough and refrigerate. Gently squeeze the dough in the bowl and form it into a disc. Wrap well in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour minimum.
Fill the Cupcake Pans
- Roll out dough. Remove the dough from the fridge and leave it at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes. Rolling out dough that is too cold will cause it to crack. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to the thickness of a coin (¼ inch). Using a 9 cm (3.5 inch) diameter cookie cutter, stamp out as many rounds as you can.
- Add dough to cupcake tray and fill. Pre-heat the oven to 180C (350F).Flour the cupcake tray lightly and place a dough cutout into each hole, pressing it against the base and sides until flush. If using a cupcake pan, the dough won't reach the top of the mould.Spoon two tablespoons of the mince meat fruit filling into the bottom of each pastry case.
Make the Frangipane, Finish off the Pies and Bake
- Infuse the sugar with orange then cream with the butter. Rub the orange zest into the sugar to release the oils and flavour the sugar (Image 11). Then add the butter and using electric hand-held beaters (or stand mixer), cream the butter and orange sugar together until pale and creamy.
- Add eggs and then dry ingredients. Whisk the eggs lightly and then add them to the butter mix. Beat for a minute or so, it may look a little curdled, but not to worry.Add in the ground almonds, flour and salt and beat until fully combined, thick and creamy.
- Top the fruit filling. Fill a zip-lock/sandwich bag (or small piping bag), snip a large hole and pipe the frangipane filling over the mince meat. Or you can easily spoon a couple of table spoons over the top. Sprinkle the flaked almonds over each of the almond cream covered pies.
- Bake. Cover the whole pan with an aluminium foil tent. Bake mince pies for 15 minutes before removing the foil, and continue to bake for another 10-15 minutes until the pastry and almond cream are golden.Remove and cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Dust with powdered icing sugar. Serve warm or cold plain or with custard, cream or ice cream.
All recipes are developed and tested in Metric grams. I strongly recommend that you bake using digital scales for a more accurate result. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.