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Mince pies


I have a confession the make. Or two actually. First: I’m an Anglophile. Throw anything British at me and I’ll welcome it with open arm. Second: though being an Anglophile, I have never ever had a mince pie.

That’s going to change, because this Christmas, I’ll be making Star-topped mince pies from Nigella Christmas (see picture below, which is a picture from the picture in the book). Well, the mince pies but without the star tops.

I’ll let you know how I liked them.



Mince pies



  • 60 ml ruby port
  • 75 g dark brown sugar
  • 300 g cranberries
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • 75 g currants
  • 75 g raisins
  • 30 g dried cranberries
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 clementine
  • 25 ml brandy
  • 1/8 tsp almond extract
  • ½ tsp vanilla paste
  • 2 x 15 ml tbsp honey


  • In a large saucepan, dissolve the sugar in the port over a gentle heat.
  • Add the cranberries.
  • Then add the cinnamon, ginger, cloves, currants, raisins, dried cranberries and the zest and juice of the clementine.
  • Simmer for 20 minutes until everything has absorbed most of the liquid (squash the cranberries with a fork to incorporate them).
  • Take off the heat.
  • When cooled a little, stir in the brandy, almond extract, vanilla paste and honey and beat once more.
  • Spoon into sterilized jars.


Mince pies


  • 240 g plain flour
  • 60 g vegetable shortening
  • 60 g cold butter
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • Pinch of salt
  • 350 g mincemeat
  • Icing sugar for dusting


  • Get out a tray of miniature tart tins (4.5 cm in diameter) and a 5.5 cm fluted round biscuit cutter.
  • Pour the flour into a bowl and, with a teaspoon, dollop little mounds of vegetable shortening into the bowl.
  • Add the butter and shake the bowl to cover shortening and butter with flour.
  • Put in the freezer for 20 minutes.
  • Mix together the orange juice and salt in another bowl, cover and leave in the fridge to chill.
  • After 20 minutes empty the flour and fat into the bowl of a food processor and blitz until you’ve got a pale pile of porridge-like crumbs.
  • Pour the salted juice down the funnel, pulsing until it looks as if the dough is about to cohere (you want to stop before it does, even if there is orange juice left).
  • Turn the mixture onto a work surface and, using your hands, combine to a dough.
  • Divide into three and wrap each part in plastic wrap.
  • Cool in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 220°C.
  • Roll out one batch of the dough as thinly as you can and cut out circles with the round biscuit cutter.
  • Press the circles into the mould and add a teaspoon of mincemeat.
  • Bake for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and get the pies out immediately.
  • Let them cool on a wire rack before transferring them to an airtight container.
  • Repeat the other dough batches.
  • Dust with icing sugar just before serving them.




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