I’m not a fan of most shop-bought mince pies. They tend to be too sweet, never have enough mincemeat and the pastry is not even close to being as good as homemade ones. Sometimes there is more pastry than pie, so I asked Vanessa to come up with delicious step-by-step mincemeat tart recipe that uses a sweet-yeasted bread as the base and an almond frangipane topping.

Vanessa’s baking tips

This tart is deliciously moist, in part because it is baked in a cloche base. The clay base is wonderful; baking evenly all the way through makes a really big difference to the finished tart. There are many almond essences on the market, but many of them are synthetic, watered down or just smell like chemicals to me. The BakeryBits one is the most delicious one I have ever used, but a word of advice because it is pure you need to use very little. Finally, the Saf-Gold Instant Osmotolerant Yeast is specifically produced to raise enriched doughs, which means you can be sure that your dough will rise beautifully.

I used snow sugar on this mincemeat tart. It is a powdery white sugar that looks like icing sugar but has special properties in that it doesn’t melt away like icing sugar does – even if frozen or wrapped up. It is particularly good for use on things that are slightly moist such as open topped mince pies, stollen, and Danish pastries. I found that sprinkling it with my fingers onto the warm cake gave the best result.

Take a look at the excellent recipe that includes lots of step-by-step photos to help you through.


La Cloche Base or Deep Quiche Dish

The La Cloche base is perfect for deep pies and quiches. It is excellent for baking pastry.

Saf-Gold Instant Osmotolerant Yeast

Osmotolerant instant yeast is ideally suited to enriched doughs used in Christmas baking

Amaretto di Saronno Lazzaroni - Bitter Almond Essential Oil

The authentic flavour of the famous Italian biscuits Amaretto di Saronno, the essence gives a curiously rich bitter sweet almond flavour. Perfect when used in recipes that contain a high proportion of ground almonds as it enhances their natural flavour.

Could you be the winner of the 2015 Great British Bake Off?

We are wondering if one of our customers could possibly be the winner of the next Great British Bake Off – we’ve been asked to invite you to enter – see the details below. You have the Christmas break to mull it over!