Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C.
Add the maple syrup and slowly add the water until the dough can be formed into a ball. You might need a little bit more or less water.
Divide the dough into 12 pieces. Oil a muffin tray then press a piece of the dough into each hole moulding it to fill the space.
Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
Put the flour, sugar, baking powder and ground almonds in a bowl. Add the dairy free milk, almond essence and oil then stir well.
Spoon the cake mixture into the pastry cases.
Sprinkle a few flaked almonds on top.
Bake for around 15 mins until the top feels firm when you press it. Leave to cool for a few mins before trying to lift them out the tray, this is so the pastry firms up. I find that gently twisting them first helps to unstick them before lifting out.
I am using rice flour because I prefer the texture, it's lighter and crunchier than wheat pastry. The dough will be a lot more crumbly than wheat dough but it holds together once cooked. This means you don't have to cool or roll it out, you can just shape it into the holes.
Obviously you can substitute it for wheat flour, if you do this you will need to cool the dough in the fridge for 30 mins then roll it out really thinly as it will rise slightly when cooked. It might also rise up in the tray so you might need to use baking beads for the blind bake. I find they are a lot harder to get out when using wheat flour too, so make sure to grease extra well.