This might be my Paula Deen moment. Not THAT moment but rather a deep frying cheesecake moment. I had to wonder if it is necessary to top a mince pie with meringue and the answer was yes, because it is Christmas!
I do think these pies look exquisite and so festive. I used store bought fruit mince and my “go to” pastry from Tina Bester’s book Bake. It does not shrink down the sides of the tin and when you do the blind bake it does not have to be filled with beans. The pastry is a real winner and it has worked really well for the Lemon & Pomegranate Cheesecake and Chocolate and Orange Curd Tart. With a silky Italian Meringue crowning glory they are truly special.
Serve them as a tea time treat on Christmas day with an espresso or glass of bubbly. But be warned, they are sweet and rich and I think the most ardent Xmas mince pie scoffer would be satisfied after just one.
- Pastry (you will only use half of it so pop the rest in the freezer for later use):
- 110g cold butter, cubed
- 100g castor sugar
- 1 large egg
- 250g flour
- 475g good quality fruit mince (shop bought)
- 150g castor sugar
- 150ml water
- 3 egg whites
- pinch of cream of tartar
- 1 heaped tablespoon instant coffee powder dissolved in a teaspoon of water
- To make the pastry:
- Combine the butter and sugar in a food processor and while still running add the egg. Add the flour and mix until it forms a dough. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Preheat the over to 180 degrees C. Press the pastry into the tin cavities, refrigerate for 30 minutes and bake for 10 – 15 minutes until pale golden brown. (I usually let the pastry go over the edge and trim it down neatly in the pan once cooled down.)
- To make the meringue:
- Bring the sugar and water to a boil while stirring. Reduce the heat slighty and boil until it reaches 115 degrees C. Start beating the egg whites and cream of tarter in a clean bowl with an electric beater until soft peaks form. Continue boiling the syrup until it reaches 121 degrees C. Increase the speed of the beater and slowly pour the syrup into the meringue in a steady stream while beating the meringue. Reduce the speed until the meringue is thick and glossy and has cooled down to room temperature (about 15 minutes). Add the dissolved coffee and whisk for another minute until it is incorporated.
- Fill each cooled pastry case with the fruit mince. Scoop or pipe the meringue on top of each tartlet (as high as possible!) and serve.