• half fat to flour
  • water to bind
  • mincemeat
  • pinch of salt
  • optional:
  • bit of brown sugar and icing sugar to decorate
  • milk to glaze
  • I used 250g of fat to flour, and it made 12 with enough pastry left over to make a small pie.
The same recipe as most mince pies, I expect, but the first time I’ve tried them, so I emailed my mum to get the recipe she has often sworn by and tried to convince me is really simple. GUESS WHAT? It’s really simple.
Words by my mum (@LANicklin) pictures by me (but lacking in pictures during the messy stages because I have a new phone which I’m keen to avoid covering in proto-pastry). Oh and I don’t have pastry cutters, so they look a bit weird (but still taste brilliant).

The general tip is to keep everything cool including your hands and keep the fat in the fridge, don’t microwave it to soften it. Also handle it as little as possible, the more times you roll it out the heavier it gets.

Rub the fat into the flour with a pinch of salt until it looks like breadcrumbs or crumble mix. Add enough cold water to bind it into a soft but not sticky ball.

It is quite good to rest it by putting it in the fridge for a little while (although not essential).
(Hannah’s note: my mum doesn’t mention here that she often runs her hands under the cold tap for ages to make them cold too. Any subsequent shivering swiftly solved by HOT MINCE PIE)


Flour the work surface  and the rolling pin and roll it out to the thickness you require, short sharp strokes with rolling pin, lifting it and turning it 45 degrees and flouring under it if it seems to be sticking. If you get hot doing this then next time put a bit more water in to make the pastry softer.
Cut circles using two pastry cutters, a bigger one for the base and smaller one for the top.
Put the base in the tin and just over half fill with mincemeat allowing for expansion and preventing leaks.
Wet the top circle of pastry with water then put the lid on pressing the edge down so that it seals.
Snip the lid once or twice with scissors to let steam out. Glaze the top with milk or edges or a mix of both. It is quite nice to sprinkle brown sugar on top to make the glaze crunchy.
Bake in a hot oven( 180-200 degrees) until they are golden brown. Cool on a tray.
Left over pastry can be kept in the fridge. Also if you have pastry left over you can line a saucer, put mincemeat in and decorate with two strips of pastry twisted like a ribbon and stuck down on the edges with water.
You can use brown flour or white once  you know how the pastry should feel as you may need more water.
My grandma always used lard, but margarine butter or a mix of both is just fine, they just affect the richness. You can also add a bit of sugar to the pastry mix as long as you keep to half fat to flour proportion.

Et voila!