New Year’s Nibbles: Real Mince Pies

by Sam Bilton on December 30, 2014 No comments

I imagine it’s common knowledge that the original mince pies, favoured by us Brits at Christmas time, contained meat. What surprises me is that we don’t combine the sweet, spicy dried fruit filling with meat anymore. It actually works really well (think more of a middle eastern tagine flavour rather than a dessert or cake) and is a great way to use up any leftover mincemeat you have lurking in the cupboard. I also think suet pastry is also over looked. It’s possibly the easiest pastry to make as there is no rubbing in involved and it is deliciously crisp when cooked. If you really can’t stand to make the pastry yourself then use a 500g block of puff pastry instead.

Mince pies with port LR

Makes 12 – 16 mini mince pies


  • 200g self raising flour
  • 100g suet
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ⅛ finely ground black pepper
  • 4-6 tbsp cold water
  • ½ tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 small or ½ medium onion finely chopped
  • 200g minced lamb or beef
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • 2 heaped tbsp (about 75g) mincemeat
  • 100ml red wine
  • salt & pepper to season
  • 1 beaten egg to glaze


  1. To make the pastry: Mix the flour, suet, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add 4 tbsp cold water and mix until you have a soft but not sticky dough. Leave to one side while you make the filling.
  2. To make the filling: Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan over a medium to high heat. Fry the onion until it is starting to turn golden then add the minced lamb or beef and cook until browned.
  3. Add the cumin and mincemeat. Cook for a minute or so before adding the wine. Reduce the heat and allow to gently bubble away until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Season with salt and pepper then transfer to a bowl until ready to use.
  4. To assemble the pies: Preheat the oven to 200℃. Roll out the pastry on a floured board until it is around 3mm thick. Using a 6cm fluted cutter for the base of the pies and a 4cm fluted cutter for the tops cut 12-16 rounds of each (you may need to roll the pastry remnants out again to get the correct number of tops and bottoms).
  5. Place the larger circles in a mini muffin tin then place a teaspoon of the filling in each. Brush the underside of the tops with water then place on top of the filling gently pressing along the rim of the pie to seal the top and bottom together. Make a small hole in the top of each pie to allow the steam to escape. Glaze with beaten egg and bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Best served warm but will also freeze when cool. Reheat from frozen at 150℃ for 8-12 minutes.

Mince pies LR

Sam BiltonNew Year’s Nibbles: Real Mince Pies

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