In over 30 years of baking, mince pies have been my nemesis; either too much pastry and not enough mincemeat, or too much mincemeat so that it bubbles through the pastry. I have tried shortcrust, flakey and sweet pastry, I have made my own mincemeat, but alas this winter delectation has alluded me.
Well "NO MORE" I say; I will not be held ransom this festive season. But I am a fan of the old mincemeat, and I have to say have a penchant for the bakewell tart - so dhur.... combine the 2 and what do you have - only a flippin' scrum diddlyumptious alternative. And lets face it, you could whip this one up anytime of the year.
So get baking, grab a cuppa and you can while away an hour or two writing your Christmas cards and shopping online!
175 g (6oz) plain flour, plus extra to dust
80 g (3¼oz) icing sugar, sifted
Finely grated zest of 1 large orange
100g (3½oz) chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk
For the pastry, put flour, icing sugar and orange zest into a food processor and pulse briefly to mix. Add butter and whiz until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs (alternatively, rub butter into the mixture using your fingers). Add the egg yolk and mix again until pastry just comes together (add a few drops of water if the mixture still looks dry). Tip on to a lightly floured surface, press gently together lightly until fully formed, but try not to handle it too much. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for approx 30 mins.
Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface, then use to line a 20.5cm (8in) round by 2.5cm (1in) deep-fluted flan tin. Chill until needed.
To make the filling: cream butter and sugar together, then beat in the eggs until smooth. Stir in the ground almonds, flour and almond extract to make a soft mixture. Spread the mincemeat over the base of tart case, then cover with the almond mixture and smooth until level.
Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan) mark 4; put a baking sheet in to heat up. Put tart on the preheated baking sheet and bake for 35min or until golden and risen - cover with foil if browning too quickly.
Whilst waiting for the tart to cool completely, make your icing by sifting the icing sugar into a bowl and adding the almond extract and a couple of tablespoons of water until you have a thick but pliable paste. When your tart is cold, remove from its tin and carefully spread an even layer on top and sprinkle with almond flakes to finish off. You may wish to pop it in the fridge for 10/15 mins to firm up the icing before cutting.