Mince Pies

December 19, 2012

Having just moved to America, I’m learning new things every day! Ground almonds are called almond meal, chick peas are called garbanzo beans, and Americans look horrified when I offer them a mince pie. I now realise mince pies are just not that popular over this side of the pond. Just to clarify – not all mince pies contain meat. Mincemeat is actually just a sweet jam of dried fruits alcohol and spice. My sister has lived here a while, and she thinks mince pies aren’t popular because Americans don’t like dried fruit. Whatever the reason may be, I would love to convince even one person here that mince pies are absolutely delicious and really should not be missed. In fact, these mince pies are good enough to tempt even the most ardent mince pie hater. Frangipane mince pies are full of buttery nuttiness and toasted almonds. The heady mix of fruit and alcohol (aka the mincemeat) at the bottom, fluffy almond frangipane, and crisp pastry make these the ultimate Christmas indulgence. They taste great with a tea or coffee, and are even strangely delicious with a neat Irish whiskey. So, I really think you should give these mince pies a try. You can also make these gluten free, by using gluten free flour for the pastry. This recipe makes 2 trays of 12.



  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 3 Tbsp cold milk / water



  •  7 tablespoons of butter softened
  •  ½ a cup caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 1 level tbsp plain flour
  • 1⁄2 tsp almond extract


To make the pastry, sieve the flour into a large bowl. Add the salt and butter. Next, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles bread crumbs. Add the milk/water a little at a time. Bring the pastry together with a fork, until it comes into dough. Take the pastry dough and wrap it in cling wrap. Place it in the fridge and leave it rest for at least thirty minutes. Preheat the oven to 200 C/ 400 F.

To make the frangipane, place the butter and the sugar in a food processor, and blitz until it forms a smooth paste. Next, add the egg and blitz until combined. Next, add the ground almonds, almond extract, and flour and blitz until it comes together. Once the pastry has rested, take it from the fridge and remove the cling wrap.

Dust a clean surface with a sprinkling of flour. Roll the pastry out on the floured surface until it is about an eighth of an inch thick. Cut the pastry into rounds with fluted pastry cutter. Place the pastry rounds into a non-stick muffin tin. Place a teaspoon of mince meat into each pastry cup. Next spoon a teaspoon of frangipane mixture on top of the mincemeat. Spread the frangipane evenly on top with the back of a spoon. Scatter some flaked almonds on top of the frangipane. Place in the oven for 20 minutes – or until golden brown. Once cooked, leave to cool in the tin for ten minutes. Once cool, gently remove them from the tin and place on a wire rack. To serve, dust with some icing sugar and some cream/ice-cream on the side. These go especially well with vanilla ice-cream.

  • Sue Maxwell

    Wow, these look fabulous! I will have to make them for sure! Thanks.

    • Vicky

      Thanks Sue! hope you like them :)

  • Geoffrey Rowe Lbipp

    Hi, full disclosure alert but I know your sister. I’m an ex-pat also and am about to embark on mince pies year 2. I’m pleased to let you know that I’ve convinced a couple of Americans that mince pies are good! I’ve also converted some to the deliciousness that is Christmas pudding and brandy butter.

    The problem I’ve found with making mince pies is getting the right baking tray. The closest I can get is a muffin tray but the slope angle is too steep and they are too deep however with some adjustment to baking time and temperature the results are ‘adequate’!

    I’m dependent on supplies of Robinsons mincemeat from the UK (there is a good online UK goods vendor back east) but I saw your mincemeat recipe a few days ago and thought it was interesting… The problem is, as you’ve found out, the difficulties in obtaining suet!!!

    Love reading your blog!!! Welcome to America!

    • stastycook

      Hi, delighted to hear that you convinced a few Americans about mice pies:) I used a large cupcake tin, which worked well for me. I will definitely look up that supplier, thanks. I imagine that it would be pretty hard to find suet in the states. I kind of like it without the suet, you can add some good butter to substitute and give it a richer flavor. Kerrygold is my favorite and is available in America. Thanks so much for getting in touch.

  • Sophie NZ

    Hi there, have just stumbled upon your blog whilst looking for gluten free mince pie recipes. These look amazing! How long will they keep, and how should they be stored? Thanks, Sophie :)

    • stastycook

      Hi Sophie, thanks for your comment. These keep for about a week in an air tight tin. After that, they still taste good, but the pastry gets a bit soft. What I did find out is that they freeze really well. I froze a bunch of fresh ones in sandwich bags, and then I just defrosted them and heated them up as I needed them. They were delicious and I had mince pies right through January. Hopes yours taste yummy too :)

      • Sophie NZ

        Great, thanks for the reply! I have made them (using your mincemeat recipe) and they taste fantastic however my pastry is going soggy. I’ve tried blind baking the pastry a little first but that hasn’t worked either! I am making them with gluten free pastry. I only made the mincemeat a few days ago, does it thicken with time? Any tips/suggestions which could help? Thanks so much! Sophie

        • stastycook

          Oh no! The dreaded soggy bottom, that’s not good. So, I have two suggestions. Perhaps your orange and lemon were juicier than mine and have made the mincemeat a little too loose. It will thicken a little over time, but you could just fork the mincemeat into the pies and avoid some of the juice which made it soggy. Another idea is to put a little of the frangipane at the base of the pie, then mincemeat on top and then more frangipane. The pies will be a little fuller, but should have a crisper base. Or a third suggestion would be to thicken the mincemeat with a little apple purée and mix it in before putting it into the pie. Hope they work out and we avoid the dreaded soggy bottom

          • Sophie NZ

            Ah yes, my oranges were huge and super juicy! I wondered if that could’ve been the case. Right, I’ll get experimenting. Thank you!