Mince pies
  • Serves icon Serves 24
  • Time icon Hands-on time 1 hour 15 min, simmering time 45 min, oven time 25 min, plus chilling

Debbie Major’s ultimate mince pies see buttery apple mincemeat encased in a slightly citrusy shortcrust pastry. The mincemeat will keep in sterilised jars in the fridge for up to a month.

Nutrition: per serving

Calories
277kcals
Fat
14.5g (7.2g saturated)
Protein
3.1g
Carbohydrates
31.7g (16.3g sugars)
Fibre
1.5g
Salt
0.1g
Calories
277kcals
Fat
14.5g (7.2g saturated)
Protein
3.1g
Carbohydrates
31.7g (16.3g sugars)
Fibre
1.5g
Salt
0.1g

Ingredients

For the buttery apple mincemeat

  • Finely grated zest and juice 1½ large oranges
  • Finely grated zest and juice 1½ large lemons
  • 1 large bramley apple (around 225g)
  • 75g butter (see Make Ahead)
  • 3 tbsp brandy
  • 150g raisins
  • 110g sultanas
  • 110g currants
  • 110g chopped candied peel
  • ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp ground ginger
  • 1½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1½ tsp ground mixed spice
  • 125g light muscovado sugar
  • 40g blanched almonds, lightly toasted in a dry frying pan, coarsely chopped

For the pastry

  • 450g plain flour, plus extra to dust
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 140g cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 135g cold lard or white vegetable shortening, cut into small pieces
  • Finely grated zest 1 orange
  • 75ml cold freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Beaten egg and granulated sugar to glaze
  • Icing or caster sugar to dust

You’ll also need… 

  • Sterilised jars and waxed discs
  • 7cm and 8cm fluted biscuit cutters and 2 x shallow 12-hole bun tins, lightly greased with butter

Method

  1. For the mincemeat, put the citrus zest and juices in a pan. Peel, quarter and core the apple, then coarsely grate it, stirring it into the citrus juices as you go so it doesn’t discolour. Add the butter, brandy, dried fruit, candied peel and spices, then cook over a low heat, stirring frequently, for about 45 minutes until the apples have broken down, the dried fruit have plumped up and all the liquid has evaporated. Cool completely, then stir in the sugar and almonds. If not using straightaway, spoon into cold sterilised jars, press a waxed disc on top, then seal.
  2. For the pastry, sift the flour and salt into a food processor. Add the cold butter and lard or vegetable shortening, then whizz until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the orange zest and pulse for 2-3 seconds, then tip into a mixing bowl (or rub together the fats, zest, flour and salt with your fingers in a large mixing bowl). Stir in the orange juice with a dinner knife until it comes together into a ball. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead briefly until smooth.
  3. Halve the pastry, then wrap one piece in cling film and chill. Roll out the other piece on a lightly floured surface to about 5mm thick. Use the 8cm cutter to cut out 24 rounds, then use them to line the bun tins. Spoon 1 level tablespoon (20g) mincemeat into each case.
  4. Roll out the second piece of pastry, then use the 7cm cutter to cut out 24 rounds. Using a 10mm plain piping nozzle (or the point of a knife), cut a small hole in the centre of each lid. Brush the edges of the pies with water, then press the lids onto the pies, sealing all round. Chill for 20 minutes.
  5. Heat the oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/gas 5. Brush the lids with beaten egg, sprinkle with granulated sugar and bake for 25 minutes until golden. Cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or cold, dusted with icing/caster sugar.

delicious. tips

  1. This recipe makes 1kg mincemeat (enough to make 48 mince pies or 24 mince pies plus the royal mincemeat pie, p100). Double the pastry recipe to make 48 mince pies. Freeze uncooked mince pies in their trays, then pop out and pack into containers, between sheets of baking paper. Return to the freezer. Bake from frozen in buttered tins for the same amount of time as in step 5. Watch how to sterilise jars at deliciousmagazine.co.uk/videos/how-to-sterilise-jars.

  2. The mincemeat will keep in sterilised jars (see video link, below) in the fridge for up to a month. If you want a longer shelf life, omit the butter in step 1 and stir in 150g shredded suet with the sugar and almonds, then store in a cool dark place for up to 1 year. Freeze the pastry well wrapped in a layer of cling film, then in foil, for up to a month.

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