How to make mince pies – step by step

Tree mince pie small

So Mr English is home and the Christmas preparations can begin in earnest.  His favouritest thing in the whole world at Christmas time is a home made mince pie.   If you’ve only ever bought them, you’re missing a trick – they’re very easy and they make the whole house smell divine.  I love scenting the pastry with the zest and juice of a clementine, or you could try a teaspoon of cinnamon too, or just leave it plain – it’s your pie.  Here’s what you’ll need:

200g cold butter

400g plain flour

1 tbsp caster sugar

Pinch salt

1 egg

1 clementine or tangerine, zest and juice (optional)

Cold water and a tablespoon (have them ready)

First, then, cut your butter into little cubes and pop it into the food processor with the flour, sugar and a pinch of salt:

Butter small

Mix gently until it resembles breadcrumbs:


Now add the egg and the clementine juice and zest and let it continue stirring gently until the mixture just comes together.   Add a couple of tablespoons of cold water as it’s coming together so you end up with a nice, soft dough.  Obviously you can do this by hand if you don’t have a food processor.

Form the dough gently into two balls, clingfilm them and put them into the fridge for 20 mins.  Don’t leave them too long – rock hard pastry is not the easiest thing to handle.  One ball should make 12 pies.

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees/gas 5 and get ready to mess with your mincemeat.  Now, don’t get me wrong – normal mincemeat in a jar is fine, but let’s face it, there’s not much in life that can’t be improved with a bit of alcohol (trust me, it’s not time that’s a great healer, it’s booze), so splosh some in: I’m loving Pedro Ximenez at the moment, but anything will do: port, cherry brandy, Cointreau – whatever you have to pep it up.  I also add a handful of dried cranberries because I like the colour.  I’m also partial to a glacé cherry or two.  But don’t bother if you don’t want to.

So now, just roll the pastry out and use a cutter to make circles.  Pop the circles gently into a muffin tin and put a scant teaspoon of your boozy mincemeat in each one.  Don’t overfill or they’ll ooze everywhere and be very difficult to get out of the tin (sorry for the blurry picture – sticky hands) :


Now you can either cut out another slightly smaller circle to use as a lid, or just cut out something festive like a star or a tree, and pop on the top.  Now, pass the whole kit and caboodle onto the Eggy Wash Department (you’ll need a small, willing child for this – just use a little lightly beaten egg to paint over the pies and add a sprinkle of sugar):

Bake for about 10 – 15 minutes and that’s it, you made pies!  Give yourself a quick round of applause, then serve with more booze in the shape of some warm, mulled wine, or a lovely cup of tea.  And now you’ve got into the swing of it, try mixing it up.  The tree ones at the top were made in a deep-fill muffin pan with a plain cutter.  Or try topping your pies with sponge mixture like my festive pastry cakey pies.

star mince pies

6 replies
  1. Must Have Gifts
    Must Have Gifts says:

    Great photo guide. I keep meaning to find a star cutter but I always end up cutting stars free-hand for my mince pie tops. I may have to add Christmas trees to my repertoire based on this! :) – Liz

  2. carol_dean17
    carol_dean17 says:

    Hi Becky,
    I’ll give these a try tomorrow. Dave loves mincepies too!
    Do you normally test the booze first, just to make sure it tastes OK? Can’t stand booze when it’s off!


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