Sunday, 5 December 2010

Our Best Mince Pies

Mince Pies (4)Exquisite light sweet, sharp, scrumptious mince pies with all the flavours of Christmas an absolute delight and indulgence I like my mince pies with a little custard sometimes as an extra special treat.

We must have made thousands of these little beauties from the Whitewell Hotel, The Willow Tree Restaurant, The Great Tree Hotel and on and on, now we just make a couple of dozen, but we think that they are still the best especially if you make your own mincemeat.

Serves / Makes:           12 pies

Prep-Time:                   12 minutes

Cook-Time:                 20 minutes

You Will Need

350 grams, mincemeat, preferably homemade

200 grams, plain flour, sifted

40 grams, golden caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling

75 grams, ground almonds

125 grams, unsalted butter, diced

1 large egg, beaten

2 tablespoons, milk, to glaze


Lightly butter a 12-hole pie or bun tin, place the mincemeat into a bowl and stir so that any liquid is uniformly dispersed.

Place the flour, sugar, almonds and butter into a food processor and process for a moment until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, then slowly add the egg through the feeder tube. (Otherwise, do it the old-fashioned way and rub the butter into the dry ingredients by hand and stir in the egg.)

Bring the mixture together with your hands, wrap in cling film, and chill for an hour or so.

Roll out the pastry on a floured surface, roll it quite thin, and cut out 12 circles with a fluted pastry cutter, large enough to fill the base of the prepared tin press them gently into each hole, then fill with the mincemeat.

Cut out another 12 slightly smaller discs and use to cover the mincemeat press the edges together to seal.

Make a small slit in the top of each, and then using a pastry brush, gently brush a layer of milk or egg white over the tops of the pies and sprinkle around a quarter of a teaspoon of caster sugar over the top of each pie to glaze them, chill for about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200° c, 400° f, and Gas mark 6 and bake the pies for 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack and Serve and Enjoy!


A mince pie (occasionally also minced, minced meat or mincemeat pie) is a British festive sweet pastry, traditionally eaten during the Christmas and New Year period. Mince pies as a rule have a pastry top, but adaptations may also be found without the top in which case they are known as mince tarts. Mince pies are filled with mincemeat; a preserve characteristically containing apple, dried fruits such as raisins and sultanas, spices, and either suet or vegetable shortening.

Modern mince pies typically do not contain any meat, but because suet is raw beef or mutton fat, mince pies made with suet are not suitable for vegetarians, although you can now buy a vegetarian suet.

Individual mince pies are usually 6 to 7.5 cm (2½ to 3 inches) in diameter, although larger mince pies, suitable for slicing, may also be baked.

Did You Know?

  • Centuries ago, mince pies were large dishes filled with various meats, mixed with fruits, peels, and sugar.
  • In the 17th century, Oliver Cromwell made the eating of mince pies on Christmas day illegal. This was voted the 4th most ridiculous British law in 2007
  • It's considered good luck to eat 12 mince pies in 12 different houses over the 12 days of Christmas, even luckier to eat each one in a different home
  • English tradition demands that the mincemeat mixture should only be stirred in a clockwise direction. To stir it anticlockwise is to bring bad luck for the coming year
  • Mince pies should always be eaten in silence
  • The most expensive mince pie is the 'ultimate' £100 (€149) being offered by London bar, Dion, which includes organic cranberries, stem ginger, orange blossom water and Hennessy cognac.
  • The humble mince pie has been subjected to many makeovers in the name of improvement.
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