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Best Ever Mini Mince Pies

These mini mincemeat pies have a delicious flaky pastry crust and are the perfect size for Christmas Day dessert with family, for a holiday party or anytime Christmas season snacking.

Mince pies are part of a traditional British Christmas and they can be part of yours, too!

Just thinking about making the first mince pie of the season makes me so happy.

Homemade mincemeat pie has always been my Mom’s favorite holiday treat, and while I was 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 (along with savory pastry), these have zero meat.

Instead, these little Christmas mince pies have a rich fruit mince pie filling full of raisins, currants, apples, lemon and orange zest, candied lemon and orange peel, pecans, and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. The crust is buttery and flaky and the perfect complement to the sweet pie filling.

They are SO good and taste like Christmas. I think you’ll love this easy and delicious recipe.

What You Need to Make Mini Mince Pies

Ingredients:

  • flour (all-purpose or plain flour)
  • salt
  • cubed butter (cold)
  • powdered sugar
  • egg yolks
  • vanilla extract
  • vanilla sugar
  • brandy or orange juice
  • raisins
  • golden raisins
  • dried currants
  • apple
  • lemon & orange zest  
  • candied zest (here’s how I make it)
  • brown sugar
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg
  • allspice
  • pecans
  • brandy (optional)
  • melted butter

Kitchen Tools:

  • large mixing bowls
  • small bowl
  • peeler
  • knife
  • cutting board
  • spoon for mixing
  • scale or measuring cups/spoons
  • sifter
  • cling film / plastic wrap
  • rolling pin
  • parchment paper & scissors
  • round biscuit cutter / pastry cutter / round cookie cutter
  • mini muffin cups / mini muffin tray or tart tins
  • mini cookie cutters (I like to use tree or star shapes)
  • wire rack for cooling
  • serving plate or tray

Baking for a Party? Try this Mini Mince Pie Recipe!

One year I decided to try my hand at making homemade mince pies from scratch for a holiday party.

The individual serving size makes these the best mince pies for get-togethers! The ones I made were all snatched up quickly.

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.

These pies are delicious served both warm and at room temperature. If you want to level up the deliciousness, serve with ice cream, whipped cream or brandy butter.

Recipe Notes & Variations:

  • When I made these for a holiday party, I prepared the mince about a week ahead and let it sit in a jar in my fridge until I was ready to bake the pies.
  • You can sometimes buy prepared mince but making your own mincemeat is so easy that I recommend using homemade.
  • Mince pie recipes usually call for mixed candied peel, but I never use it because I can’t find it at any grocery store in my area. Instead, I make candied zest! It’s quick and easy to make. Click here for my easy candied citrus zest recipe (you’ll need to scroll a bit to find it).
  • If you don’t want the added step of making homemade candied zest, and can’t buy mixed candied peel, just use extra grated orange and lemon peel.
  • I just couldn’t stomach the idea of using beef suet, with is traditional and authentic, so I left it out.
  • While I couldn’t find mixed candied peel, the golden raisins and dried currants were easy to find at my local grocery store. Don’t worry if you can’t find all of the traditional ingredients! If you can’t, substitute with more raisins or even dried cranberries.
  • Don’t worry if your pies don’t all come out perfect and uniform! That’s how you know they’re homemade — and made with lots of love. 🙂

Shortcrust Pastry for Mince Pies

The mince pie pastry I use is from my friend Helen, who lives in the UK. This shortcrust pastry is so good and so easy to make. If you prefer, you can use a shortbread pastry for mince pies or even puff pastry. To make gluten free mince pies use your favorite gluten free flour mixture and pie crust recipe.

I used my mini muffin tin to make 24 of these two-bite pies. In the past I’ve used this recipe to make 12 mini pies and 3 larger pies (using my standard 12-cup muffin tin).

So you could make fewer larger mini pies – but you’ll need to adjust the amount of filling you use for each pie and the baking time if you do that. That said, I prefer the mini pies over the larger ones. I like the filling to crust ratio on the smaller pies better.

For the crust on the top of the pies, I tried different mini cookie cutters and liked the small stars and Christmas trees the best. I think stars are most traditional, but feel free to get creative.

You can also cut out small pastry circles for the top – just be sure to cut a small slit in the top of each pie to let steam out while baking.

I recommend filling these pies only 3/4 full (for my mini muffin tin that’s less than a teaspoon of filling). I’ve filled the pies to the top of the crust before but the filling just spilled over the sides as they baked. Those pies were not as pretty as they could be, but fortunately they still tasted great.

How to Make Mini Mince Pies

There are 3 steps for making these bite-sized pies:

  1. Make the mince.
  2. Make the pastry crust.
  3. Assemble and bake the pies.

What’s great about these pies is that you can prepare everything ahead of time and then pop them in the oven when you’re ready to bake and serve them.

Ok, let’s make pies!

First, let’s make the mince filing.

Add raisins, golden raisins, currants, apples, orange and lemon zest, candied zest, brown sugar, spices, pecans, melted butter, and brandy in a mixing bowl. Stir until well combined. Store in covered bowl or jar in the fridge until you’re ready to bake your pies. 

Next, let’s make the shortcrust.

Sift flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Add the cold cubed butter. Rub butter into flour.

Add powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and egg yolks. Stir (or use your hands) to make a dough. 

Shape dough into a ball, then flatten into a disk. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes. 

Now, let’s make and bake the pies.

Preheat oven to 400F/200C.

Roll out dough on a floured surface to 1/8 inch(3mm) thick. Use a cookie or biscuit cutter that’s larger than your mini muffin tin to cut out pastry rounds. I used a fluted scone cutter but you can also use a plain one.

I’ve never had any problems popping my pies out of my muffin tin but if you think you might, here’s what you can do. Cut a piece of parchment into strips. Place a strip on the tin and a pastry round on top of the parchment. Then carefully press dough into muffin tin.

Use your fingers to press and shape the dough and then a fork to prick the dough a couple times. Fill each pie 3/4 of the way full (a little less than 1 teaspoon for each pie).

Re-roll the dough (thinner than before) and cut out shapes (I like to use little stars and trees) to place on the tops of your pies. Then, sprinkle a little vanilla sugar over the top. Alternatively, you could use an egg wash.

Bake at 400F/200C for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown (keep an eye on them so they don’t get too browned). Let cool on a wire rack. Then use the parchment to life the pies out of the muffin tin.

Easy Recipe for Mince Pies

Yield: 24 mini pies

Mini Mince Pies

Mini Mince Pies

These tasty little mince pies will be the hit of any holiday gathering! 

Prep Time 20 minutes
Chill Time 30 minutes
Bake Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients

Mince Filling

  • 1/4 cup [37g] raisins
  • 1/4 cup  [37g] golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup  [37g] dried currants
  • 1/3 large apple
  • zest of one lemon 
  • zest of one orange
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 cup pecans (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon brandy (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon candied zest (see note)
  • vanilla sugar (for sprinkling on the pies before baking) 

Shortcrust

  • 1 1/2 [180g] cups flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup [170g] butter (cold & cubed)
  • 1/2 cup [28g] powdered sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

Make Mince Filling

  1. Peel, core and grate apple. Chop nuts. 
  2. Combine all mince ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir until well combined. Set aside.

Make Shortcrust

  1. Sift flour and salt into a mixing bowl.
  2. Cut cold butter into cubes, then rub into flour until small crumbs form. 
  3. Stir in powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and egg yolks to make a dough. 
  4. Form dough into a ball, press into a disk shape, then wrap in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes. 

Make the Pies

  1. Preheat oven to 350F/175C.
  2. Roll out dough to 1/8 inch [3mm] thick. Use a cookie or biscuit cutter a little larger than your mini muffin tin to cut rounds out of the dough.
  3. Press dough into mini muffin tin. Prick the bottom of the dough a couple times with a fork.  
  4. Fill 3/4 full with mince filling (about 3/4 teaspoon).
  5. Re-roll the dough (thinner than before) and use mini cookie cutters to cut out shapes to place on the tops of your pies. Then, sprinkle vanilla sugar over the top (or use an egg wash). 
  6. Bake at 350F/175C about 18 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store in airtight container.

Notes

Click here for my easy candied zest recipe.

Thanks to Helen for her shortcrust recipe.

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Jason

Sunday 20th of December 2020

Thought I'd try this recipe. Had the filling already but was looking for an authentic crust recipe. The dough was easy to make and smelled and tasted amazing. At 18 minutes they were looking fairly brown so I pulled them. Way too fragile to get out of the muffin pan. Gave them a couple more minutes and still found them very fragile. I needed 8 for Christmas Eve dinner and lets just say it's a good thing I made 12 because getting 8 that looked ok was a challenge. Still contemplating making another batch with a different recipe.

Cate, International Desserts Blog

Sunday 20th of December 2020

I'm sorry it didn't turn out as well as you'd hoped. I'm not sure why the crust turned out so fragile for you. I've used it many times and it's always held up well. One thing I do if I'm worried about getting something out of a tin is put a strip of parchment in the bottom of the tin with enough hanging over the sides to be able to lift them out.

Sarah D Nichols

Monday 14th of December 2020

I made these last night, they were delicious! Thanks for this recipe. I substituted 1/3 of the butter for shortening, I want to believe it made it even flakier! I also only let my mince sit for 1 day. The mince in your photos looks a bit jammier than mine, which I wonder if it's because you left it marinate for a week? Either way, these are amazing.

Cate, International Desserts Blog

Tuesday 15th of December 2020

I'm so glad you liked them! Thanks for the tip about the shorting (you can also use lard or suet but I never have either of those things in my pantry so I don't tend to use them). It probably is because the mince marinated longer. I'm actually setting a reminder in my calendar to make mince next fall so it can sit longer before I make pies in December!

Shannon

Friday 4th of December 2020

Is it okay to leave out the brandy? If I need to substitute it, what would I use instead? Thanks!

Cate, International Desserts Blog

Friday 4th of December 2020

Yep, you can just leave it out. If you want a substitute, you can use bourbon, rum, rum extract or even apple juice.

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