Christmas isn't Christmas without Mince Pies...

It's a well known fact within my household that pastry is my nemesis. That and cream cheese frosting but that's another story. It just hates me. Whenever I try baking a pie, or a tart or something in my head that sounds and looks absolutely delicious it's almost as if the pastry wants to ruin my dreams by rebelling and throwing the ultimate move: pastry shrinkage. I've tried all sorts of techniques: minimal handling/ freezing the dough/ overnight chilling. They all don't work for me. So this sort of explains why I have very minimal pastry based posts on here.

But it's Christmas. And Christmas means mince pies. Sweet mince pies filled with delicious soaked dried fruit, citrus peel, cinnamon and spices. I loooooove mince pies. Only the shortcrust ones, mind. Approaching Christmas it's literally one a day. Or occasionally five a day. They're good on their own, even better served warm (note to self: not hot. Boiling hot molton sugar= severe tongue burn-age) and it's most amazing served with hot custard. Did I mention I love mince pies?

Not to be confused with savoury mince pies i.e. actually filled with meat. Imagine how confused I was when I took a trip to Scotland one time around Christmas and asked for a mince pie in a shop, only to be asked for clarification whether it was of the sweet or savoury variety I'd wanted. Apparently it's more of a thing in Scotland to actually have meat mince pies sold alongside sweet mince pies. Thank goodness for that- I can only imagine the sheer disappointment I would have experienced if I got given an actual mince meat pie. So now I know and let this be a tip for anyone who is as clueless as me.

My mince pies, to me, have a glorious pastry:filling ratio. I.e. mostly pastry. Perfect. None of this 'deep filled' milark. It's buttery and crisp (no soggy bottoms here!) , with slight hint of sweetness and because of my fear of over handling/ pastry shrinkage the pastry has actually turned out more like a combination of shortcrust and puff pastry. Best of both worlds, ey. The only downside to these is the mince meat is not homemade-I bought a jar of it. Too faffy! At least the most important bit was made from scratch and that's good enough for me!

Recipe from BBC Food
Yields 12-15 mince pies, depending on what size tin you use

200g plain flour
40g caster sugar
75g ground almonds
125g cold unsalted butter, diced
1 large egg
Milk to glaze
1 x 400g jar mincemeat (I used Robertsons)

  1. Place the flour, sugar, ground almonds and butter into a food processor and blitz until it resembles bread crumbs. You may wish to rub the butter in by hand if you don't have a food processor.
  2. Add the egg and mix until a dough starts forming. Do not overmix! (Unless you like tough, rubbery pastry!) Gather into a ball, wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least two hours. 
  3. Lightly grease a 12 hole mince pie tray with butter.
  4. Flour the work surface and roll out the dough to approximately 3mm thick. Using a circle cookie cutter (I used a 8cm cutter) cut out 12 circles large enough to fill the base of the prepared tin. Press the dough gently into each hole in the tin.
  5. Fill each case with 1.5 tsp of mincemeat (don't be tempted to fill with too much-you may end up with a mincemeat explosion!)
  6. Gather the scraps and re-roll. Using a slightly smaller circle cookie cutter (I used 6cm) cut out 12 smaller circles. Brush the underside lightly with water and place on top of the filled pastry cases. Press to seal. Using a sharp knife cut a small slit in the top of each pie and lightly brush the tops with milk. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  7. Heat the oven to 200°C. Bake the mince pies for 15-18 minutes until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool, or serve warm.


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Interior designer & part time baker. Lover of architecture, design and all things cute.