Mincemeat pie reminds me of my Mom. It’s always been one of her favorite holiday treats. Growing up, she tried to convince me that it’s delicious. It’s a sweet mincemeat, not savory, she’d tell me.
I’d try a bite here and there but couldn’t be swayed.
I never thought I’d like anything mincemeat…until a few years ago when I spent Christmas in Ireland. I bought a couple cute little mincemeat tarts one evening while at a Christmas market in Galway, and after a couple bites I finally understood why it’s my Mom’s favorite!
I think it was the mince in mince pies that turned me off because mince usually refers to meat, right? Even if a mince pie didn’t actually have meat in it, just the idea of it made it sound less appetizing to me when I was a kid.
While you can make savory mince, the fruit mince pies in this recipe have zero meat!
These little Christmas mince pies have a rich fruit mince pie filling full of raisins, currants, apples, lemon and orange zest, pecans, and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. The crust is buttery and flaky and the perfect complement to the sweet pie filling.
Baking for a Party? Try this Mini Mince Pie Recipe!
This year I decided to try my hand at making homemade mince pies from scratch for a holiday party. What’s great about these pies is that you can make the mince and the shortcrust ahead of time, and then assemble and bake the pies the day (or day before) you want to serve them.
The individual serving size makes them perfect for a holiday party; the ones I made were snatched up quickly.
These pies are delicious served both warm and cold. If you want to level up the deliciousness, top with ice cream, whipped cream or brandy butter.
How to Make a Mince Pie
I made the mince about a week ahead of the crust and let it sit in a jar in my fridge until I was ready to bake the pies.
The ingredients for mince pie filling are pretty simple and straightforward but I did make a few changes when I made my mince pies:
1. I left out the mixed candied peel, because I couldn’t find it. I added a bit more grated orange and lemon zest in it’s place. (I recently found a recipe for homemade candied peel, so maybe I’ll try that next year!)
2. I just couldn’t stomach the idea of using suet, so I left it out. Maybe I’ll try it next year.
While I couldn’t find mixed candied peel, the golden raisins and currants were easy to find at my local grocery store. Oh, by the way, you may notice dried cranberries in my mince pie photos…yeah, I grabbed the cranberries instead of the currants for the photoshoot. Oops. That said, dried cranberries would be delicious (though probably not as traditional) in these pies.
Shortcrust Pastry for Mince Pies
The mince pie pastry I used is from my friend Helen, who lives in the UK. This shortcrust pastry is so good and so easy to make. (I’m now brainstorming all of the mini pies I can make, just so I can make Helen’s shortcrust again.) If you prefer, you can also use a shortbread pastry for mince pies or even puff pastry. To make gluten free mince pies use your favorite gluten free pie crust.
I used my mini muffin tin to make the two-bite pies but you could also use a regular sized muffin tin to make larger pies. To top the pies, I used three different cookie cutters to make small stars, Christmas trees, large stars, and shooting stars out of leftover crust. I think stars are most traditional, but feel free to get creative. 🙂
The shortcrust recipe is from my friend Helen, who lives in the UK. It’s so good, and so easy to make. (I’m now brainstorming all of the mini pies I can make, just so I can make Helen’s shortcrust again.)
I used my mini muffin tin to make the two-bite pies but you could also use a tartlet pan or a regular sized muffin tin if you want to make larger pies.
To top the pies, I used three different cookie cutters to make small stars, Christmas trees, large stars, and shooting stars out of leftover crust. I think stars are most traditional, but feel free to get creative. 🙂
I made 12 mini pies and 3 larger pies (using a regular muffin tin size) and after trying both, I preferred the mini size. I liked the ratio of crust to mince with the two-bite pies.
I filled the pies to the top of the crust, and consequently, the filling spilled over the sides as they baked. So they’re not as pretty as they could be, but they still taste great. Give them a try and let me know how yours turn out!
Easy Recipe for Mince Pies
These cute little mince pies will be the hit of any holiday gathering!
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup butter cold, cubed
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup golden raisins
- 1 cup currants
- 1 large apple peeled, cored and grated
- zest of one lemon
- zest of one orange
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 2/3 cup pecan pieces chopped
- 2 1/2 tbsp melted butter
- 1/4 cup brandy
- 1/4 cup mixed candied peel
Peel, core and grate apple. Chop nuts.
Combine all Mince ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir. Store in covered bowl in the fridge until you're ready to bake your pies.
Sift together flour and salt.
Cut cold butter into cubes, then rub into flour until it's small crumbs.
Stir in powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and egg yolks to make a dough.
Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400F. Roll out dough to 1/8 inch thick. Use a cookie or biscuit cutter to cut rounds out of the dough. I used a fluted scone cutter but you can also use a plain one. Save the scraps.
Press dough into muffin tin. Prick the bottom of the dough a couple times with a fork.
Then fill with mince. I put 1 tsp of mince in my mini mince pies and they overflowed a bit. Fill about 3/4 of the way full.
Re-roll the dough and cut out shapes to place on the tops of your pies. Then, sprinkle sugar over the top.
Bake 18-22 minutes at 400F. Keep an eye on them so they don't get too brown. Let cool on a wire rack.
Thanks to Helen for her shortcrust recipe!
Move Over Sugar Cookies!
You'll love the 10 traditional European Christmas Cookies in my free ebook!