Merry Christmas, muffins! We hope you are currently relishing in your shiny new pressies, sipping on sherry or champagne (one of each for these gals), and gathering your strength for the family fun ahead. We've got a crew of 14 arriving at any moment!
As a result, at Blue-Eyed Bakers' Christmas headquarters (outside Chicago, for the time being) we've spent the last few days baking up a storm in preparation for the holiday feast today, clearly focusing on desserts. Duh.
While we are typically very decision oriented (type-A+, remember?) when it comes to sweet treats at Christmas, it is a wee difficult for us to pick just one. Peppermint bark, toffee, custard and cake, oh my!
So this year, we thought, why choose? We're making a hearty platter of cookie-brownie-bar-mini-pie options.
Hey, the more the merrier, right?
Obvy, in our sugar round table one dessert was unquestionably going to be included as it's a bit of a British tradition and, ergo, a blue-eyed family tradition....Mincemeat pies.
We hear the hesitation in your voices.
But, don't worry, we originally thought it sounded extremely unappetizing as well.
I mean, WHO ON EARTH NAMED A DESSERT MINCEMEAT?!?! Meat? Really? Grody to the max. No. We do not want any of that, thankyouverymuch.
But really, mincemeat is just old-school British talk for "delicious pie filling made up of heirloom apples, plump raisins and sweet orange peel."
You know what, forget it, we're just going to call it mince. Mince is British for yummy.
Of course, in typical blue-eyed fashion, we couldn't let well-enough alone so we jazzed up these pielettes with an almond-y macaroon topping.
Trust us, we won't steer you wrong...especially not on Christmas. Even if it is named mincemeat.
Mince Pies with Macaroon Topping
Makes 16 pies
For the Pastry Crust:
6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
For the Filling:
1 big jar of mince filling (we used Crosse & Blackwell available at most grocery stores)
For the Topping:
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup ground almonds
2 egg whites
To make the crust, cream together cream cheese and butter in a food processor fitted with the metal blade until well blended. Gradually cut in the flour and blitz until the dough just comes together. Gather the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Roll out the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface until 1/8" thick. Cut into rounds with a fluted 3" diameter cutter. Press dough into mini-tart pan and spoon about 1-2 rounded tablespoons of mince filling into each tartlette round.
Bake pies in the oven for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, whip the egg whites into stiff peaks in a large bowl. Mix together the sugar and ground almonds (we ground them in a food processor with a metal blade) in a small bowl. Gradually fold in the sugar and almond mixture into the egg whites.
When the pies are par-cooked, spoon some of the macaroon topping on each tartlette ensuring that the topping touches the edges of the pies.
Place pies back in the oven for another 10 minutes or until the macaroon topping is light golden and bubbling.
Cool and enjoy!