Kitchen Tips

How to make festive mince pies

Warm mince pies are a quintessential festive treat. If you haven’t made your own mince, just use a shop-bought jar with this delicious shortcrust – or try a maple pecan filling

By Sophie Gray
Christmas mince pies are de rigueur in December. Fruit mince takes months to mature in the jar but a good homemade mince pie can be produced with an easy rich shortcrust pastry and three-quarters of a jar of store-bought fruit mince.

How to make mince pies

Place 1 heaped cup plain flour, a pinch salt and 100g cold butter in a processor and pulse to fine crumbs (or rub butter into flour with fingertips). Add 1 egg yolk, 30g sugar and just enough ice-cold water to form a dough when pulsed or mixed. Don’t knead, just form it into a ball, wrap it and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 190°C and use a cutter or glass to cut discs of rolled pastry to fit your greased pans; crimp edges with a fork if desired. Place 1 tsp fruit mince into each one – don’t overfill or they’ll spill over and stick to the pans. Top with a pastry star or other shape and bake for around 15 minutes until pale golden. Remove from the pans while still warm. Makes around 15.

Spiced shortcrust pastry

Make a spiced shortcrust pastry by adding 1 tsp cinnamon and ½ tsp mixed spice to the flour. If you prefer jam tarts, three-quarters fill cases with a good-quality jam.

Maple pecan pies

For a change from fruit mince, make maple pecan pies using the same rich shortcrust pastry. Heat ½ cup brown sugar and 1/3 cup golden syrup in a small saucepan with 1 tsp vanilla essence and 2 Tbsp butter. When melted, set aside to cool and then add 1 egg and 1 Tbsp cream or crème fraîche.
Stir in ¼ cup chopped pecans. Spoon mixture into greased, pastry-lined pans and top with whole pecans. Bake at 190°C for 10-15 minutes. The filling will settle once cooled. Serve warm or cold. Makes around 18.