Royal mincemeat pye
Serves 12 apples 500g, Cox or Braeburn preferred, peeled mincemeat 500g For the pastry good plain flour 250g, sifted unsalted butter 130g caster sugar 15g ice-cold water 3 tbsp egg yolk 1 For the frangipane unsalted butter 50g golden caster sugar 25g whole peeled almonds 50g, ground quite fine egg 1 medium For the meringue egg whites 4 large caster sugar 250g Directions To make the pastry, work the flour and butter together until a fine crumb forms. Add the sugar and quickly combine. Pour the ice-cold water onto the egg yolk and beat vigorously. Pour this swiftly onto the crumbed flour and quickly bring the pastry together into a loose ball. Avoid overworking it.
Roll the pastry out evenly until it is quite thin enough to be moved onto the rolling pin and then unfurled over a 27cm wide tart case with a removable base. Shape the pastry into the edges, cut excess away, then place in the fridge.
To make the frangipane, beat the butter with the sugar until softened, then add in the almonds. Beat the egg in a cup with a fork then stir into the butter mixture and set aside.
Core the apples and cut each into 8, then mix with the mincemeat.
Spread the frangipane roughly over the base of the chilled pastry case, then tumble on the apple and mincemeat mixture. Return the tart to the fridge for 20 minutes to settle while your oven heats to 190C/gas mark 5.
Place the tart case on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, till the pastry is golden brown.
Meanwhile, make the meringue. In a scrupulously clean bowl, whip the egg whites into stiff peaks. Beat in half the sugar until stiff peaks form again. Fold in the remaining half.
When it’s time, remove the pye from the oven upon the tray and settle on a bench. Reduce the oven temperature until quite cool, 120C/ gas mark ½, leaving the door open to cool down. Heap and swirl the meringue onto the pye until all is used up and a marvellous scape of peaks is artlessly formed. Return the pye to the oven and bake gently for 20-30 minutes, until a golden crust forms. Serve warm.
Richard H Turner is a writer and restaurateur
Above, royal mincemeat pye Top, Christmas rocky road