It’s that time of year again when boxes of mince pies are stacked a mile high on our supermarket shelves. But have you ever tried making your own? Nothing quite compares! All you need is some good quality ingredients and a little patience, and you’ll have homemade treats your family and friends will love.
What Are Mince Pies?
The history of mince pies stretches back to England in the 13th Century. Traditional recipes for mince pies, or Christmas pies, crib cakes, and shred pies, as they were known then, contained a mixture of fruits, minced or ‘shredded’ meat (hence the name shred pies), suet, and spices. Over the centuries, mince pies have become more sweet than savory. By the 19th Century, mince pies were similar in flavor and more like the round shape we know and love today.
Mince pies have always had a strong link to Christmas. The spices symbolize the gifts given to Baby Jesus by the three wise men. In the middle ages, mince pies were an oval shape with a pastry Baby Jesus on top to depict Jesus’s manger (hence the name crib cakes).
Mince pies also come with some superstitions. Just for fun…
- To avoid bad luck during the year ahead, stir your mincemeat in a clockwise direction.
- For good luck, each family member should eat one mince pie a day over the Twelve Days of Christmas.
Today’s mince pies have dropped the meat. Instead, they are a wonderful combination of dried fruits and spices encased in a gorgeous pastry. And one heart-warming tradition still remains. Kids still love leaving a mince pie by the fireplace for Father Christmas on Christmas eve.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Mincemeat: I am using my Amaretto Mincemeat Recipe. Homemade mincemeat will elevate your mince pies to a whole new level! But feel free to use whatever mincemeat you love.
- Pastry: My Spiced Almond Pastry really compliments these mince pies. It’s deliciously buttery and crumbly, and the spices pair beautifully with the mincemeat. It’s also incredibly easy to make (especially if you have a food processor), which is helpful when wholemeal pastry is so difficult to find in the UK. Alternatively, use your favorite brand of shortcrust pastry.
- Milk: I’m using milk on top of the mince pies. As wholemeal pastry is already dark in color, the milk will prevent them from going too dark in the oven too quickly.
How To Make Mince Pies ~ Step-By-Step
Take the pastry out of the fridge for at least 30 minutes before rolling it. This will make it easier to roll and prevent it from splitting as easily.
Roll a little over half of the pastry out on a lightly floured surface. You want the pastry to be roughly 3mm thick.
Tip: Rolling the pastry between two sheets of parchment paper prevents you from having to use too much flour, making the pastry dry. The pastry will also lift off the surface much easier.
Cut out 12 circles with a 3-inch round pastry cutter. These are your mince pie bases.
Insert the bases into a greased 12-hole mince pie or tart tin.
Fill the mince pie bases with a tablespoon of mincemeat.
Roll out the remaining pastry and cut out 12 lids. Place on top. Then refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the mince pies to chill. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350ºF/180ºC/gas 4.
Tip: If you cut a lid that completely seals the mincemeat, crimp the edges to seal, then cut a small slit in each lid to allow the steam to escape. I am using little stars to make a delicious mince pie that looks extra Christmassy.
Tip: Chilling the mince pies at this stage prevents them from shrinking during baking.
Brush the pastry with milk.
- Bake & Cool
Bake in the oven for 18-22 minutes until golden brown. Then, remove them from the tin and place them on a wire rack to cool slightly.
- Serve & Enjoy
Best served warm with clotted cream!
Full recipe and ingredients list in the recipe card below.
Why You’ll Love These Mince Pies
- Perfect For Holiday Entertaining: This mince pie recipe will surely become a holiday favorite.
- Perfectly Sweet & Savory: These homemade mince pies yield a perfect balance of sweet and savory flavors.
- They’re Easy To Make: Mince pies are easy to put together, even if you’ve never made them before.
- They’re Delicious: A buttery, flaky pastry crust is the perfect complement to a perfectly rich mincemeat filling.
Tips For Making The Perfect Mince Pies
1Choose The Right Mincemeat
The first step to making perfect mince pies is to choose the right mincemeat. It’s all about flavor. Bland mincemeat is going to give you bland mince pies. You can use my delicious Amaretto mincemeat recipe, which you can easily whip up in 30 minutes. Amaretto is optional! It’s made using much less sugar and fat than most store-bought brands. But it’s still packed with flavor. Alternatively, you can use your favorite shop-bought mincemeat. It’s your call!
Rolling the pastry between two sheets of parchment paper prevents you from using too much flour, making the pastry dry. Also, the pastry bases and lids will lift off the parchment paper surface much easier than a countertop.
3Preheat The Oven
Be sure to preheat your oven before you start baking your pies. This will help to ensure that they bake evenly and come out of the oven looking beautiful.
4Chill Your Mince Pies Before Baking
Chilling your mince pies before baking will prevent the pastry from shrinking in the oven.
5Fill The Mince Pies Generously
When it comes to filling your pies, don’t be stingy! Be sure to fill them generously with mincemeat, so they’re nice and plump. But not too much that they start spilling over the sides!
Homemade Mincemeat & Pastry Recipes
If you are looking to make your mince pies with homemade pastry and homemade mincemeat, I’ve got just the recipes you’ll need. Get them here:
How To Make Mince Pies ~ Full RecipePrint
Thinking of making this Mince Pies Recipe? I’d love to know how it turns out. Get in touch via the comments section, and let me know!
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