Thursday 6 December 2012

Mince Pies v.2

A few weeks ago I was asked by The Everygirl if I'd like to write a piece about one of my favourite festive recipes. Without a moment of hesitation, I chose mince pies.

Back in 2010, I posted recipes for our mincemeat and mince pies.  Homemade mincemeat is genuinely one of my favourite things to eat. In a pie, on a spoon - I don't care. It's completely different from the stuff you can buy. For the piece I reshot the photos and adapted the recipes into cups. Other than that I didn't change too many things, so the original posts still stand for gram measurements (though the mincemeat is a half batch in the feature, I used a few dried cranberries and I added the brandy at the beginning).

You can read the feature here - it also includes recipes from the lovely ladies at Sprinkle Bakes, Butter me up, Brooklyn!, Channeling Contessa and Ever Hungry.

While I was writing up the recipe, an idea kept niggling at me: shortbread instead of pastry. After I'd sent it in, I adapted my Whole Vanilla Bean Shortbread recipe and gave it a go. It was such a success that I wandered around the house for about an hour with a big grin on my face. I used to think that a rich pastry would be too much. It's not.

Of course, when I googled it, I discovered that it's a totally normal variation. But still. Best mince pies I've ever made.

Shortbread Mince Pies

50g cold unsalted butter
25g caster sugar
65g plain flour
pinch of sea salt
Approx 5 tbsp homemade mincemeat

Cut four thin strips of baking parchment and place them across the bottom of four cups in a muffin tin, making sure the ends reach up to the top of the sides (like a ribbon to take out a battery). Place the butter and sugar into a food processor and blend until you have a paste (you could also beat it in a stand mixer, but be careful not to overwork it). Add the flour and pinch of salt and pulse until the mixture has combined and starts to form tiny clumps. Divide the mixture between the cups then press into the walls and bottom as evenly as you can. Neaten up the top with a knife if you like - you can use any extra to make decorations. Place in the fridge and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 160C/320F. Spoon about 3-4 teaspoons of mincemeat into each cup. Bake for 16-18 minutes until the shortbread is golden brown and the mincemeat is bubbling. Leave in the tin to cool for five minutes them use the strips to pull them out of the tin. Serve warm with plenty of cream.

(Makes 4, easily scaled up)

A few related posts:
Bûche de Noël
Quick Christmas Fruit Cake
Stollen Wreaths


  1. I love the little holly design on the top. My favourite thing at Christmas is a warm mince pie with some cream on. I'll definitely be giving these a try next week, they'll go down really well at the work Christmas lunch :)

  2. Shortbread mince pies are traditional in Australia. These make me so homesick, but would be much better in the cold, than in the hot hot heat of Australia at this time of year!

  3. If I have to eat a mince pie, I think I'd definitely want to eat one with shortbread so I very much approve of your updates to this recipe. They look so pretty with the little holly leaves on top too.

  4. Ah, the humble mince pie. Festive food just doesn't get better than this. I've been pondering over how to make a good gluten free version and I think the shortbread idea should work well. Yours look so cute with the holly and berries, wish me luck!

  5. I used to hate these nasty things as a kid, but now I love them! A very adorable version here

  6. I totally recognise that moment where you walk around your flat with a big grin on your face because a recipe you created (even if others may have done the same unbeknownst to you) just totally worked!

    Love the idea of using shortbread - very fitting for all the seasonal extravagance and indulgence!

    I am still letting my minced meat mature but I might try half a batch with shortbread and half a batch 'traditional'.

    PS: still love the look of your mince pies!

  7. Thank you so much for adding the other version with cups instead of grams. As a Brit turned American my cooking has evolved into using Standard units and all my British cookbooks are filled with conversion notes. I love your site (and that you're also a Lit. nerd like myself). Happy Christmas!

  8. the cake hunter - There's nothing quite like a good mince pie and cream. Hope they go well! Do tell me.

    Sarah - How interesting! I think they're more common here than I realised. I can imagine you want quite different festive food when it's the middle of summer!

    london bakes - Hehe! I'm very happy with the update too. I still need to try out decorations with the shortbread too.

    Mary Sweeting - I'd love to see how you make the shortbread gluten free - do tell me how it goes if you try!

    thecitygourmand - I'm glad you came around! I'm glad you like them.

    Sophia - It's such a great moment, isn't it. What's the thought behind maturing mincemeat? What sort of recipe do you use? I hope you get to try the shortbread version!

    Rosie - I'm afraid it won't become a habit! I'm so glad you like the site. Happy Christmas to you too!

  9. I would love anything made with shortbread :) These sound delicious.

  10. These look so delicious! Love the design on top too :-)

  11. What a beautiful blog you've got here. So glad I just stumbled upon it. Keep on baking!

  12. Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic - I'm a big fan of shortbread. I hope you get to try them.

    blueskydaze - Thanks! I like having a design rather than an extra pastry top.

    Anne's Kitchen - Thank you - I'm so glad you like it!

  13. I just made the mincemeat from "our mincemeat" and I can't stop tasting the raw version. YUM. Can't wait until tomorrow when it is done, and then the pie... Thanks,

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