What Is Sweetmeat And What Animal, It Come From How to Make Traditional British Mince Pie for Christmas

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Prep:
30 mins

Cook:
20 mins

Chill Time:
30 mins

Total:
80 mins

Servings:
12
to 18 servings

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
292 Calories
15g Fat
36g Carbs
4g Protein

Show Full Nutrition Label

×

Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
to 18
Amount per serving
Calories 292
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15g 20%
Saturated Fat 8g 38%
Cholesterol 37mg 12%
Sodium 123mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 13g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 3mg 13%
Calcium 17mg 1%
Iron 2mg 9%
Potassium 115mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Christmas without mince pies is unimaginable. Why? Mince pies have been eaten as part of a traditional British Christmas since as long ago as the 16th century. Then they were made of a spiced, sweet meat mixture but are now commonly made with sweet mincemeat, a mixture of dried fruits, sugar, spices, and brandy (and no meat). They are a notable part of the heritage of a British Christmas. 

The recipe makes rich, sticky, sweet filling wrapped in pastry—you’ll see why they are so popular. 

1:40

Click Play to See This Delicious British Mince Pie Recipe Come Together

“This is a simple pastry dough that results in a light and very flaky crust. Perfect for mincemeat or your favorite filling. The most time-consuming part is rubbing the butter into the flour. But your hard work will be paid off with lots of buttery flaky layers.” —Carrie Parente

Traditional British mince pies with filling on a spoon
A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

For the Pastry:

  • 350 grams (2 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting the work surface

  • 225 grams (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter (or an equal mix of butter and lard), cold and cubed

  • 1 pinch salt

  • 1 egg, beaten

  • Water, cold, as needed

For the Pie:

  • 1 (776-gram/27-ounce) jar mincemeat (store-bought or homemade)

  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Steps to Make It

Make the Pastry

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for mince pie pastry recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats


  2. Place the flour, butter, and salt into a large clean bowl.

    Flour, butter, and salt in a large bowl

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  3. Rub the butter quickly into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles rough sand.

    Butter and flour mixed together in a bowl

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  4. Stir the egg into the mixture using a cold knife.

    Egg added to the pastry mixture

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  5. Add the cold water, a teaspoon at a time, and stir until the mixture binds but is not sticky.

    Pastry dough mixed in a bowl with a knife

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  6. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for a minimum of 15 minutes and up to 30 minutes.

    Mince pie dough rolled into a ball and wrapped in plastic

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Assemble the Pies

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Mince pie filling ingredients gathered

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  2. Preheat the oven to 400 F / 200 C / Gas Mark 6. Choose a muffin or bun tin for the size of the tart you want. Choose from a standard 12-cup muffin tin down to small canapé size. The number of pies will depend on the size of the tin you use.

    12-cup muffin pan

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  3. Dust a work surface lightly with a little flour and roll out 2/3 of the pastry to 1/8 inch thick. Cut circles to line the cups of your tin; don’t worry if the pastry doesn’t come to the very top.

    Muffin tin lined with dough

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  4. Fill the pastry-lined tins 2/3 full with mincemeat.

    Mincemeat filling being added from a jar to the pastry in the muffin pan

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  5. Roll out the remaining pastry to the same thickness and cut smaller circles to fit as lids on the tarts or, to be decorative, cut stars or other fancy shapes.

    Mince pie pastry cut into decorative shapes

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  6. Dampen the edges of the tart bases with a little cold water and press the lids on. Make a small hole in the surface of each pie with a small sharp knife to allow the steam to escape.

    Unbaked mince pies in a muffin tin

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  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes (15 minutes if making canapé-sized ones), or until golden brown.

    Baked mince pies in the muffin pan

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  8. Let cool and sprinkle with the confectioners’ sugar.

    Mince pies sprinkled with confectioners' sugar

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  9. Serve and enjoy.

    Mince pies ready to serve on top of a red towel on a wooden cutting board

    The Spruce Eats


Tips

  • Mince pies are delicious served hot or cold, on their own or with brandy butter, or with cream or even a good vanilla ice cream.
  • Mince pies will keep well if placed in an airtight tin for up to seven days. Sometimes they benefit from a gentle warming in the oven before serving.
  • The filling for the mince pies typically uses suet, which is an animal fat. If you don’t eat meat, look for a vegetarian version or make mincemeat using an alternative fat such as cold butter or shortening.
  • Shortcrust pastry (used in this recipe) is a traditional mince pie case, but some like puff pastry. You can make quick, flaky mince pies by substituting thawed, frozen puff pastry.

Is It Illegal to Eat Mince Pies on Christmas Day?

Oliver Cromwell banned festive Christmas celebrations including mince pies and puddings during his short reign in the 1650s. However, the rule didn’t last past his reign, and mince pies have long been a Christmas tradition in the U.K.

Video about What Is Sweetmeat And What Animal, It Come From

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