Christmas without mince pies is unimaginable. Why? Mince pies have been eaten as part of a traditional British Christmas since as long ago as the 16th century. Then they were made of a spiced, sweet meat mixture but are now commonly made with sweet mincemeat, a mixture of dried fruits, sugar, spices, and brandy (and no meat). They are a notable part of the heritage of a British Christmas.
The recipe makes rich, sticky, sweet filling wrapped in pastry—you'll see why they are so popular.
Click Play to See This Delicious British Mince Pie Recipe Come Together
- For the Pastry:
- 350 grams all-purpose flour (plus extra for dusting the work surface)
- 225 grams unsalted butter (or an equal mix of butter and lard; cold and cubed)
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 egg (beaten)
- Water (cold, as needed)
- For the Pie:
- 1 (776-gram) jar mincemeat (store-bought or homemade mincemeat)
- 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
Note: While there are multiple steps to this recipe, this mincemeat pie dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for baking.
Make the Pastry
Gather the ingredients.
Place the flour, butter, and salt into a large clean bowl.
Rub the butter quickly into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles rough sand.
Stir the egg into the mixture using a cold knife.
Add the cold water, a teaspoon at a time, and stir until the mixture binds but is not sticky.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for a minimum of 15 minutes and up to 30 minutes.
Assemble the Pies
Gather the ingredients.
Preheat the oven to 400 F / 200 C / Gas Mark 6. Choose a muffin or bun tin for the size of the tart you want. Choose from a standard 12-cup muffin tin down to small canapé size. The number of pies will depend on the size of the tin you use.
Dust a work surface lightly with a little flour and roll out 2/3 of the pastry to 1/8 inch thick. Cut circles to line the cups of your tin; don't worry if the pastry doesn't come to the very top.
Fill the pastry-lined tins 2/3 full with mincemeat.
Roll out the remaining pastry to the same thickness and cut smaller circles to fit as lids on the tarts or, to be decorative, cut stars or other fancy shapes.
Dampen the edges of the tart bases with a little cold water and press the lids on. Make a small hole in the surface of each pie with a small sharp knife to allow the steam to escape.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes (15 minutes if making canapé-sized ones), or until golden brown.
Let cool and sprinkle with the confectioners' sugar.
Serve and enjoy.
- Mince pies are delicious served hot or cold, on their own or with brandy butter, or with cream or even a good vanilla ice cream.
- Mince pies will keep well if placed in an airtight tin for up to seven days. Sometimes they benefit from a gentle warming in the oven before serving.
- The filling for the mince pies typically uses suet, which is an animal fat. If you don't eat meat, look for a vegetarian version or make mincemeat using an alternative fat such as cold butter or shortening.
- Shortcrust pastry (used in this recipe) is a traditional mince pie case, but some like puff pastry. You can make quick, flaky mince pies by substituting thawed, frozen puff pastry.
Is It Illegal to Eat Mince Pies on Christmas Day?
Oliver Cromwell banned festive Christmas celebrations including mince pies and puddings during his short reign in the 1650s. However, the rule didn't last past his reign, and mince pies have long been a Christmas tradition in the U.K.