Caramel, Pear and Pecan Christmas Pies

Caramel Christmas pies

Caramel, Pear and Pecan Christmas Pies

Festive Cheer is finally upon us and I’m in the mood for baking!!

This recipe is especially for the Non Mince Pie lover or someone who simply fancies a change from the norm!

We have the Christmas Pudding, and the Christmas cake, but where on earth is the Christmas Pie??  Well, I’ve just invented it!

My Carmel, Pear and Pecan Christmas Pies are guaranteed to get you in the Christmas spirit and if I do say so myself they are simply delicious.  I’m secretly really quite proud of this little recipe.

They have a crispy pastry, a gooey  spiced Carmel melting middle and a buttery, nutty topping in the form of chocolate frangipane.

So, this is what you will need.

You’ll need a few things from your dry store, ripe pears, and of course the essentials for baking, butter and eggs.

This recipe makes 12 mini pies

 Cinnamon Sweet Pastry

For the Pastry you will need

85g fridge cold Butter
50g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
140g flour
1 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt
And a Drop of cold water if needed, nothing to complicated there.

Here is what you do.

Place 140g of flour into a mixing bowl along with 50g of sugar and a pinch of salt for flavour.

Dice 85g butter into 1cm peices and drop into the flour.  Using your thumb and forefinger, rub the butter into the flour and sugar until the mixture resembles bread crumbs

Add in egg yolk and mix until the pastry forms a ball.  Don’t over work it.  Add a tsp if cold water if the mixture is still really crumble, but not too much.  You want the pastry light and flaky.

Now, mould the pastry into a ball and wrap in cling film.

It’s really  important to allow to rest in the fridge for a least 15 minutes.  This will relax the glutens in the flour and allow the butter to harden again making it easier to roll.

 

While your pastry is resting you can make this simply amazingly gooey caramel filling.

Pear, Pecan and Carmel Filling

You will need

100g golden caster sugar
1 large ripe pear, diced, this should weigh around about 100g
75g chopped pecan nuts,
1 tsp mixed spice
¼ tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp double cream

Add 100g of golden caster sugar to a heavy based pan.  Turn the heat on low and wait for the sugar to start melting around the edges.  Give it a little stir, not too much 0or the sugar could crystallize.  Once no more lumps and bits of sugar are visible in the pan, add in about 100g of chopped pears about 75g of pecan nuts.  The mixture will seize up but don’t worry, it will come back again, to a nice smooth texture once it starts to boil.  Allow it to cook for 5 minutes, stirring all the time.  Now turn off the heat and add the double cream., It may spit so stand back.  Transfer the mixture to a bowl and allow to cool in the fridge for about an hour.

Don’t forget this mix  is molten hot so do not touch or taste at this stage! If you do you won’t be able to taste anything for at least a week…you have been warned! I speak from experience!!

 

Right, final bit of preparation then you can get building.

We need to make the topping

Chocolate Frangipane

You will need

50g sugar
50g butter
1 egg
25g flour
25g cocoa powder
50g ground almonds or pecans if you prefer

The butter needs to be soft in order to be able to make this mix. When it is, add to it the sugar and beat the two together until you have a nice smooth creamy mixture.It should appear light and fluffy.  I generally do this by hand  with a spaltuar for such a small amount.

Now add in your egg and mix again.

The next stage is your flour, cocoa and ground almonds.  Mix in well and make sure all is combined.  Leave to rest while you roll out your pastry.

Remove your pastry from the fridge and allow to come to warm up a little while you grease your muffin tins.  I usually use a little soft butter for this.

Dust your surface with flour and roll out the pastry to 2 mm think.  Don’t forget to flour your rollng pin to stap the pastry sticking.

Cut out 12 circles which should be a little bigger than the circumference of the holes your tins.  I use a pastry cutter for this but you could just as easily cut around a tea cup.

Lay each circle into a hole and press down well making sure the pastry is well tucked into to all the edges.

Prick the bottoms with a folk to stop them rising up in the oven.   I now tend to transfer the tray to the freezer for 10 minutes as it prevents the risk of the pastry shrinking as it cooks.

These need blind baking at 190oc for 8 minutes, before removing the beans and baking for another 4-5minutes.

Once cooked and slightly golden, remove from the oven.

Add to these a spoon full of the cooled caramel mixture, about half way up, no more or it will all bubble over the edges.   Top with the same amount of chocolate frangipane.

Wet your finger and tap the top of the frangipane to make a smooth surface and gently push the mixture to the edges.

Bake again, at 190oc for 12-15 minutes until the frangipane has risen and the caramel starts to bubble.

Allow to cool on a wire rack slightly, before decorating as you wish and serving with a glass of mulled wine!..well, what else?

Don’t forget cooking times will be a little less if you are making mini bite sizes ones.

These Christmas Pies make great presents and look lovely wrapped in little bag with personalised tags.  A truly delicious treat for all your friends and family.

 

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