Who doesn’t love mince pies? Today we are going to look at the origin of traditional mince pies and then dive in and make some.

We’re going to share not one but two great recipes showing you how to make mince pies. A rustic, very shortcrust traditional British version and an adapted Spanish version from the lovely Debs at NativeSpain.com

The history of mince pies …

Mince Pies, like Christmas Puddings, were originally filled with meat, such as lamb, rather than a dried fruit mix as they are today. They were also first made in an oval shape to represent the manger that Jesus slept in as a baby, with the top representing his swaddling clothes.

During the Stuart and Georgian times, in the UK, mince pies were a status symbol at Christmas! Very rich people liked to show off at their Christmas parties by having pies made is different shapes (like stars, crescents, hearts, tears, & flowers); they fancy shaped pies could often fit together a bit like a jigsaw! They also looked like the ‘knot gardens’ that were popular during those periods. Having pies like this meant you were rich and could afford to employ the best, and most expensive, pastry cooks!

Now they are normally made in a round shape and are eaten hot or cold.

A custom from the middle ages says that if you eat a mince pie on every day from Christmas to Twelfth Night (6th January) you will have happiness for the next 12 months!  (source http://www.whychristmas.com/customs/mincepies.shtml )

I’d happily eat at lease one mince pie a day over the twelve days of Christmas but they’d have to be homemade. It is almost impossible to find tasty, package mince pies, don’t you agree?

How to make mince pies (a traditional British recipe):

You will need:

For the filling:

  • 250g mincemeat

For the pastry

  • 250g pack of cold butter, diced
  • 400g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • 150g golden caster sugar


  • Pre heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6
  • Sieve the flour and mixed spice into a large bowl (big enough for a small child to get their elbows in!).
  • Add the diced butter to the flour, mix well and rub between your fingers until it is the texture of breadcrumbs.
  • Add the sugar and squash together to form a kind of very dry dough – don’t be tempted to add any liquid.  (I must warn you that you really will be tempted to add some!)
  • A lot of kneading and manipulation is required to ensure this very short pastry actually sticks together enough to be cut into shapes. Use a pastry cuter to cut circles to the size of your pie tray.
  • Another option in to manipulate the mixture into balls and then flatten them in your hands to form circular shapes that fit in your pie trays. These give the mince pies a lovely, rustic, homemade look.
  • Next, spoon the filling into the pies – try to be as neat as you can, as you don’t want to get any on the sides.
  • Use the methods above to make the tops for your pies. Adding a bit of water around the edges of your base helps the tops to stick. Add tops and press the edges together.  Stab each pie top with a fork.
  • Put the tray in the oven and bake for 20 mins or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly.
  • Sprinkle with icing sugar if desired.


How to make mince pies (a twist on a traditional Spanish recipe)

This recipe is take from Spanish Cooking Uncovered: Farmhouse Favourites – http://nativespain.com/portfolio-item…

If you love Christmas mince pies then you’ll love this new way of making them, with a Spanish twist!

Ingredients for Christmas Empanadillas – Empanadillas de Navidad
For 8 empanadillas:

  • 250g jam (whatever flavour you prefer, or Christmas mincemeat)
  • 250g flour
  • 70ml oil
  • 3 eggs
  • Grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 100ml olive oil for frying

For the full recipe go here: http://nativespain.com/food/christmas-empanadillas-empanadillas-de-navidad-spanish-recipe/




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