We’ve got the tips, tricks and recipes you need to master mince pies this Christmas. So whether you’re looking to perfect your pies or even have a crack at them for the first time, read up and get set to bake…
Mincemeat you can’t beat
First off, let’s deal with the obvious question. It’s called mincemeat because back in the Middle Ages it was made with diced meats, fruit and spices. You can thank the Victorians for phasing out meat and turning up the sweet.
Nowadays, classic mincemeat is a mix of dried fruit, peel, suet, sugar and spice. You can buy it but it’s dead easy to make and there’s always room for extra flavours if you fancy varying it up. Have a go at this rum and pineapple mincemeat or the whisky and morello cherry loaded mincemeat in this recipe.
Mincemeat can be stored in sterilised jars for up to six months, so make a batch to see you through the season. It also makes a lovely gift.
Shortcrust is usually the pastry of choice for mince pies. Of all the pastries, it’s the easiest to make in our opinion so give it a go with this recipe and guide. Need it vegan? Try this one instead.
The trick with pastry is to keep it as cold as possible before it goes in the oven. Use fridge cold butter and iced water and handle it (with cold hands) as little as possible. Of course, you can just buy it readymade from the supermarket. No judgement here.
Cook and store
Depending on size, mince pies take around 15-20 minutes to bake in the oven. Brush the tops with a beaten egg for a lovely glaze and then pop them in. Once ready, let them cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack.
Save to savour later by storing in an airtight container for up to week. Or you can pop ‘em in the freezer to keep for longer. Most mince pies can be reheated from frozen so bake extra and you’ll always have some to hand for unexpected visitors.
Give them a twist
Not a huge fan of mincemeat? Do like Zoella and switch things up with festive chocolate orange pies or a pecan, chocolate and cranberry version. Or how about these brownie mince pies? Whoever came up with the idea needs a Hollywood handshake.
Pass on the butter and suet with these scrummy vegan filo, pear and satsuma mince pies or these irresistible mini Scandi crumble pies. Free from gluten doesn’t mean free from flavour with these super fruity mince pies or these cuties with a Viennese swirl topping.
Mince pie pairings
These classic Christmas treats are delicious on their own but serving them with a little something extra just adds to the enjoyment. First off, dusting them with icing sugar mixed with a pinch of ground cinnamon is a yes – thanks for the tip, Jamie Oliver!
If you’re serving mince pies with a morning cuppa or afternoon brew, top with cream or a dollop of this brown sugar brandy butter. For more of a pudding vibe, try this Christmassy custard or this decadent clotted cream no churn ice cream.
Before we finish up, did you hear that eating a mince pie every day of the 12 days of Christmas is said to bring luck? Best get baking…