There always comes a time during the festive period when you want to bake your own mince pies. But if you don’t have a muffin or cupcake tin, the good news is, you don’t need one for this recipe. My hand-shaped pies are simple to make, so they’re ideal for a low-key Christmas baking session. I was inspired by the flavours of a florentine, including almonds, glacé cherries and dark chocolate for something a little different. These flavours enveloped in crisp shortcrust and mincemeat are a winning combination. Liberty Mendez, recipe developer
Shop-bought pastry and a free-form shape makes these pies a bit easier. The topping has added interest, too, thanks to the candied fruit and drizzled dark chocolate.
Go all-out by making your own pastry and giving the pies a Christmas-tree-like swirl of meringue. They take a bit of extra work, but look the part for a special dessert.
One year, after underestimating the power of the gas oven at a Christmas holiday cottage, I burned the tops on a batch of mince pies and had to come up with a quick fix. It was a happy accident as I cut the tops off, quickly piped over some meringue and pretended that this new festive-looking ‘frosting’ was completely intentional. They’ve evolved since then to have a more lemony zing – great with a cup of tea or a glass of sherry, or serve them as a festive dessert. Barney Desmazery, skills & shows editor
Easy florentine mince pies
MAKES 14 PREP 20 mins COOK 20 mins EASY V
115g mincemeat (ensure vegetarian, if needed)
1 orange, zested
1 ½ tbsp bourbon or orange juice
30g ground almonds
60g glacé cherries, roughly chopped
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