Nothing beats homemade mince pies! These star topped mini mince pies are super easy to make and utterly delicious. Ideal for making with kids (but grownups love them too!) They also freeze beautifully, meaning you can have homemade mince pies whenever you want.
Easy Peasy Mini Mince Pies
I absolutely love mince pies, but I’m really not a fan of the shop bought ones, they are too big and too sweet for my taste and just all the wrong texture. These Easy Peasy Mini Mince Pies are much smaller and made with a simple, savoury pastry, which I think perfectly complements the sweetness of the mincemeat. They are quick and easy to make and so are ideal for making with children. I make these with my kids every year and they love helping.
A favourite Christmas tradition
I really love Christmas traditions and one of my favourites is in mid December when we get our tree from a local Christmas tree farm. Each year one of the children gets to go and buy the tree with Daddy (there’s only enough room in the car for one child, as we usually get a massive tree), while the other child stays at home and makes mince pies with me. Then we all get involved with decorating the tree and eating the mince pies. For me it is the moment that really signals the start of Christmas.
You can of course make your own mincemeat, but for speed and simplicity I have used shop bought mincemeat in these mince pies. My favourite brand is Marks and Spencer’s Classic Mincemeat. I just love it and use it every year, so much so that I’m not sure I can bring myself to make my own mincemeat – as it just wouldn’t taste the same (unless of course Marks and Spencer’s want to give me their recipe…??)
The perfect pastry for mince pies…
As I mentioned above, I make these mince pies with a very simple, classic savoury pastry which only has three ingredients: flour, butter and water. I love the rich buttery, flaky, melt in the mouth texture that you get – so much better than the stodgy over-sweet pastry you get on shop bought ones. I think the mincemeat has enough sweetness not to need extra sugar in the pastry, but if you have a sweeter tooth than me, try adding 100g of sugar to the pastry mixture just after you have rubbed the butter and sugar together.
…made the old fashioned way
I always rub the butter into the flour by hand. It’s really very easy and I actually enjoy doing it – it makes it feel proper somehow and of course my kids absolutely adore this part and do it with great glee and gusto (while I shout “keep the four in the bowl!!”). Seriously, if my kids can rub together butter and flour, anyone can do it! But you can of course make the pastry in a food processor, if you prefer. Just pop the flour and the cubed butter in your processor and pulse until it resembles breadcrumbs, then add the water drop by drop and pulse until it starts to come together, then take the pastry out of the processor and roll it into a ball by hand.
Either way, It is essential for this recipe that the pastry is that it’s rolled out thinly – so thin you can almost see through it!
Mince pies made with a star on top…
I always top my mince pies with a little star, It feels more Christmassy than a full lid and they look so pretty, plus I feel that it makes for a better pastry to mincemeat ratio. But these mini mince pies can obviously be made with any shape you choose on top, or a lattice or a full top. (Though you will probably have to make a little more pastry if you want to give them a full lid, and don’t forget to make a snip in the top to let the steam escape.)
The final touch for these mince pies, an absolute essential in our house, is a light sprinkling of icing sugar, which my children call “the snow” and which to me, just makes these super Christmassy.
What to serve with mince pies
Of course, mince pies are delicious on their own as a snack, but if you want to turn them into more pudding there are lots of delicious options:
- Custard (or “Crème anglaise” if you want to be fancy 😉 )
- Cream (any kind, but my favourite is the extra thick double cream)
- Brandy butter
- Brandy cream
How to store mince pies
Once the mince pies have cooled completely, they should be stored in an airtight container (for example a cake tin). They will keep for about a week.
Can you reheat mince pies?
Yes, you can. Simply place the mince pies on a baking tray and place in a preheated oven, set to 220C / 200C fan / gas mark 7 / 425F, for 5-10 minutes.
Can you freeze mince pies?
Mince pies freeze really well. Once cooled, simply place them in a plastic lidded container (put a sheet of baking parchment or greaseproof paper in between the layers) and pop them in the freezer, where they will keep for up to 3 months. Defrost at room temperature for a couple of hours.
Once defrosted, you can eat them at room temperature or reheat them as above.
These are my idea of the perfect mince pie, but I would love to know what you do with your mince pies. Do you do the traditional thing or something more unusual? What is your idea of a perfect mince pie?
If you like this recipe…
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Easy Peasy Mini Mince Pies
- 2 cupcake trays (each with 12 holes)
- Baking paper (or the butter wrapper will do)
- Mixing bowl
- Wooden spoon
- Rolling pin
- Circle shaped cutter, 8cm / 3inch diameter (mine is fluted, but you can use a normal one if you prefer)
- Star shaped cutter, 7cm / 2½inch from point to point
- Pastry brush
- Wire cooling rack (or improvise with your grill rack or a roasting rack)
- Cake tin for storing your mince pies when they’ve cooled down (if there are any left!)
- 350 g plain flour plus extra for dusting
- 175 g cold butter cut into 1cm / ½inch cubes (plus extra for greasing)
- A little cold water (roughly 6-8 tablespoons)
- 250 g mincemeat (I use Marks and Spencer Classic Mincemeat)
- A little milk
- 3 tablespoons icing sugar
- Grease the holes of 2 cupcake trays (24 holes in total), using a little butter on some baking paper. Preheat your oven to 220C / 200C fan / gas mark 7 / 425F.
- Place the flour in the bowl (you can sieve it if you like, but I never bother) and add the cubes of cold butter. Rub the butter and flour between your fingers (as if you are trying to rub the flour into the butter) until it resembles breadcrumbs. (See Note 1.)
- Stir in a tablespoon of cold water and stir into the butter/flour mixture thoroughly. Add another tablespoon of cold water and stir in thoroughly. Repeat this process until the mixture just starts to come together. I usually find this happens after about 6-8 tablespoons but it does vary. Don’t add too much water!
- As soon as your pastry starts coming together, stop adding water and use your hands to squish the pastry together into a ball.
- Sprinkle your work surface with a little flour and pop your ball of pastry on top. Roll your pastry out as thin as it will go. (It might be easier, depending on the size if your work surface, to split the pastry into 2 balls and do them 1 at a time.)
- Using a circle shaped cutter, cut out 24 circles and place them into the greased holes of you cupcake trays.
- Put 1 teaspoonful of mincemeat in the centre of each circle.
- Squish together the pastry, roll it into a ball and roll out thinly again. This time cut out 24 stars, using your star shaped cutter, Place each star on top of the mincemeat, roughly in the centre (this is a bit hit and miss with children!) and press down slightly so the star sticks.
- Using a pastry brush, brush over a little milk. (Not strictly necessary, but it makes the mince pies go a more golden colour.)
- Put the mince pies in your preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until the mincemeat is bubbling and the pastry is golden on top.
- Take your mince pies out of the cupcake tin and place them on a wire rack to cool – I find it easiest to lever the mince pies out with a dessert spoon – take care not to burn yourself as they will be super-hot!
- While the mince pies are still warm, put a couple of tablespoons of icing sugar into a sieve and dust the icing sugar over the mince pies. (You can use an icing sugar dredger if you prefer.)
- The mince pies can be eaten warm or cold, on their own or with cream or custard.
- When the mince pies are completely cool they can be stored in a cake tin, or other air tight container… that is if there are any left!
- You can of course make the pastry in a food processor, if you prefer. Just pop the flour and the cubed butter in your processor and pulse until it resembles breadcrumbs, then add the water drop by drop and pulse until it starts to come together, then take the pastry out of the processor and roll it into a ball by hand.
- Suitable for freezing.
- Nutrition information is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
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