Mince pies are an essential part of Christmas. They are made from minced fruit not meat. In the US, the filling is known by the more accurate name "fruitmince"

They are small pies, usually between 2 and 3 inches in diameter (5-7.5 centimetres), filled with mincemeat (fruitmince). Mince pies are a favourite food of Father Christmas. Children leave one or two mince pies on a plate at the foot of the chimney (along with a small glass of whiskey, Guinness or milk, and a carrot for the reindeer) as a thank you for filling their stockings.


9 oz cold butter, diced
14 oz plain flour
14 oz golden caster, superfine or baker's sugar
11 oz store-bought or homemade mincemeat - Recipe Below
1 small egg
icing sugar, to dust


1 - To make the pastry, rub cold, diced butter into plain flour, then mix in golden caster sugar and a pinch of salt. Combine the pastry into a ball – don’t add liquid – and knead it briefly. The dough will be fairly firm, like shortbread dough. You can use the dough immediately, or chill for later.

2 - Preheat the oven to 400F/ 360F Convection Oven. Line 18 holes of two 12-hole small muffin tins, by pressing small walnut-sized balls of pastry into each hole. Spoon mincemeat (recipe below) into the pies.

3 - Take slightly smaller balls of pastry than before and pat them out between your hands to make round lids, big enough to cover the pies. Top the pies with their lids, pressing the edges gently together to seal – you don’t need to seal them with milk or egg as they will stick on their own. (The pies may now be frozen for up to 1 month).

4 - Beat 1 small egg and brush the tops of the pies. Bake for 20 minutes until golden. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack. To serve, lightly dust with icing sugar. They will keep for 3 to 4 days in an airtight container. Serve warm or cold with whipped cream or icecream



2 large cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into large chunks
2 oranges, finely grated zest and juice
2 lemons, finely grated zest and juice
10oz shredded suet, or butter, chilled and grated
11oz raisins
11 oz currants
11oz sultanas
5oz mixed candied peel, chopped
26 oz soft dark brown sugar
2oz almonds
2 tsp mixed spice
75 ml Irish whiskey, or brandy


1 - Place the apple chunks in a small saucepan with 1 teaspoon of water, cover and cook over a low heat for about 8–10 minutes until the apples are cooked down to a pulp. Allow to cool.

2 - Mix with all the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and put into sterilised jars.

3 - Leave to mature, if possible for at least 2 weeks before using.