I got it into my head I really wanted to make my own mince pies this year, to be sure all the ingredients would be paleo-friendly. So I duly looked around online for pastry ideas, and settled on one I’d seen replicated in a few different places using ground almonds, coconut oil, and egg white.
That’s the recipe I intended to use. Truly it is.
Naturally, by the time I made it as far as the kitchen, the “doesn’t respond well to authority” part of me that extends to following a simple recipe had kicked in and largely thrown my simple plan out the window in favour of “what if…”
I used to love suet pastry when I still ate wheat. No idea why it didn’t occur to me sooner to try with almond flour! Planning to try with coconut flour at some stage, too, which I have a strong suspicion will basically taste like heaven in a pastry case. So, to the recipe!
- 200g ground almonds
- 100g beef suet
- 1 medium egg
That, being me, is kind of sort of approximately roughly the basic quantities. More or less. Well, I definitely used 200g almonds, at any rate! Pretty much a medium egg, though I get them in mixed sizes, so I’m going by eye here. As for the suet… Well, I started off with 200g and I reckon there was probably about half a pack left, so let’s call it 100g and forgive my vagueness if I assure you it’s really pretty easy to tell when you’ve added the right amount!
As I was making it for mince pies, I added a little vanilla extract to this batch, too. Thinking I might make some kind of bacon and egg quiche now I know pastry’s back on the menu, so keeping the basic recipe plain and you can season as suits. On with the directions!
I mixed mine in an electric mixer, but you can just as easily do it by hand. Keep adding the suet bit by bit until you have a nice, stiff dough… though you’ll find it feels stickier than normal suet pastry, so don’t rely on that to guide you!
Remember I mentioned it’s sticky? Yup, that’s why it’s on baking parchment! I think next time I’ll probably pop it in the fridge for half an hour before rolling out, but I’d recommend the baking parchment either way.
Allowing plenty of space around the dough, fold the parchment on top of it before rolling it out.
Next tip is to carefully peel back the top of the paper, then lightly replace it, flip it over, and peel off the other side to make sure you’ve loosened both sides of the dough from the parchment. It makes a lovely short pastry when cooked, but the lack of gluten makes it a little unforgiving in its raw form, so this just saves trying to unstick it after you’ve got the shape you want.
Speaking of shape, cut out with a pastry cutter the way you would with normal pastry, and I used my ever-trusty silicone muffin pans to bake them in.
Aaand here I get a little vague again – sorry! I had the oven at 150ºc, and would guess I probably baked them for around 15-20 minutes. Essentially, just like pastry, when they’re turning lightly brown on top, they’re done.
Keeping in mind that short pastry is crumbly pastry, gently turn out onto a wire rack to cool before adding your chosen filling and returning to the oven at a similar temperature.
(If you’re wondering what the marks are, I pricked this batch with a fork to make sure the base cooked evenly, but I’m honestly not sure it was necessary for cases this small…)