Is there anything better than mince pies at Christmas? Why, homemade mini mince pies, of course! These snowflake topped mince pies are so simple to make and utterly divine. A fabulous bake for making with kids of all ages (and adults too!), just put on some festive music and get everyone helping!
Getting in the Christmas spirit
The weekend we put up our Christmas decorations every year also turns into a mammoth festive baking weekend too! We make all sorts, from biscotti and Christmas cookies to gift out neighbours, friends and the children’s teachers, to Christmas pudding and cakes for us to enjoy through the season.
Mince pies, in particular, are my husband’s favourite Christmas bake. I spent years perfecting the flavours in my homemade mincemeat recipe. And these irresistible mini mince pies are no exception, for the kids, big and small, in our home!
What ingredients do I need to make lemon curd tartlets?
- Flour: I use plain flour in the pastry for these mini pies as it I do not want any rise in it.
- Icing/Powdered Sugar: for sweetening the sweet shortcrust pastry. Also can be used to dust the top of the mince pies once baked.
- Butter: I use unsalted butter here to make the pastry. Make sure to use cold butter when making pastry for the best, flakey results.
- Eggs: I only use the yolks in the pastry to add richness and flavour.
- Ice cold water: make sure to use ice cold water when making pastry. You want to keep the dough as cold as possible throughout the whole making process.
- Mincemeat: to fill each pastry shell, I use my homemade mincemeat, but you can easily substitute for your own recipe or even a shop bought jar of mincemeat.
What equipment do I need to make mini mince pies?
- Food processor*: a brilliantly quick way to make the pastry, and my preferred way for speed and convenience.
- Pastry cutter/blender*: an alternative tool to cutting butter into the dry ingredients when making pastry. You can also use a knife, if you do not have either a food process or pastry blender.
- Digital kitchen scales*: weighing out ingredients when baking rather than measuring by cups is my preference. However, I do provide volume (cup) measurements too if this is your preference when baking.
- Sieve*: useful to remove lumps from dry ingredients before blending everything together.
- Rolling pin*: for rolling out the pastry. If you do not have a rolling pin, you can get creative! A tall glass or even a wine bottle works well too!
- Pastry cutters*: to cut out the pastry for lining the tin. Use a cutter a couple of sizes bigger than the tin so that the pastry comes up the walls and does not just cover the base. If you do not have pastry cutters, again get creative and use an upturned mug or cup to help!
- Mini tart tin*: to make and bake the shells for the mince pies.
- Snowflake plunger cutters*: this is how I make the snowflake toppers for the mini mince pies. You can use a different shape, such as a star, if you wish, or leave the mince pies without the additional pastry on top.
How to make homemade mince pies
Making mini mince pies at home is so easy and fun, and honestly I think taste waaaaay better than store bought! First, we need to make the shortcrust pastry for mince pies, then fill them with mincemeat. Finally, top with a pastry topper and bake! So simple and so good!
For the pastry
Step 1: First make the pastry. In a food processor or a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour and sugar. Add in the cubes of cold butter and cut or blend in until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Ensure no large chunks of unblended butter remain or it will speckle the pastry when rolled out. Tip in the egg yolks and blend again until just combined. Add in the ice water a little at a time until the pastry dough comes together in clumps.
Step 2: Tip out the dough onto a clean work surface and gather it together. Squeeze it to bring together, try to avoid kneading and working it too much or the pastry will end up being tough. Divide the pastry dough into two equal parts and flatten into discs. Wrap each disc tightly in cling film and pop in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes. At this point, you can freeze the dough for another day, if desired.
Step 3: Once the dough has chilled, it is time to get making the pastry shells! Dust a work surface with a little flour and roll out one of the pastry discs until about 3mm thick. Stamp out rounds of dough a couple of sizes larger than the mini tart tin and ease them in. I use the end of my rolling pin to help push them in evenly, but fingers work well too. Once the tray has been filled, prick the bottom of each pastry shell a few times with a fork (this stops the bases puffing up and rising a lot when baking). Pop the tray into the freezer to chill and firm up for 15 minutes.
Filling and baking the mini mince pies
Step 1: Once the pastry has chilled and firmed up again, preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
Step 2: Remove the tin from the freezer. Fill each pastry case with some mincemeat, pushing it down gently and ensuring each pastry shell is filled to the brim. Not only will this result in well filled mini mince pies for you, but the filling will also help support the pastry walls as it bakes. This will in turn reducing misshaping or shrinkage of the pastry as it bakes. Level off the tops of the mincemeat, ready for the pastry toppers.
Step 3: Roll out leftover scraps of pastry and stamp out some snowflake shapes. Carefully, using a knife to help, ease each of the pastry toppers off the worktop and on top of each mini mince pie. Gently press the snowflakes into the top of the mincemeat to secure, being careful not to misshape the pastry as you do.
Step 4: Bake the mini mince pies for 12-15 minutes until the pastry is golden and the filling is gently bubbling. Leave to cool and firm up a little in the tray, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with icing sugar if you wish. Enjoy!
Can I use ready made pastry?
You can definitely use shop bought pastry shells. I would however recommend making your own pastry as you will get a much lovelier, buttery pastry and a better flavour for the whole bake.
If you have not made shortcrust pastry before, do have a look at my sweet shortcrust pastry recipe (linked below). In the post, I share in detail how to make shortcrust pastry, including additional top tips to help you make the best shortcrust pastry ever!
Can these mini mince pies be made in advance?
Yes, of course. The pastry shells will keep well in an airtight container for 2 days at room temperature, or they can be made and frozen for up to a month. The mincemeat can be made weeks ahead of when you need it, and will keep well for up to a year when stored in an airtight container. Once opened however, homemade mincemeat should be used within a week.
How to store mini mince pies
Once they have been assembled, the mince pies should be stored in an airtight container, and consumed within about a week.
Can mince pies be frozen?
These mini mince pies can be frozen, so you can have mince pies whenever the fancy takes you!
How to freeze mini mince pies
Once baked, mince pies can be frozen and keep well this way. Simply place the mince pies in a freezer safe, lidded container, separating layers if stacked with some parchment paper if needed. Place in the freezer and only keep frozen for up to three months. To defrost the mince pies, simply leave them out at room temperature for a few hours.
Additional top tips for making this Christmas mince pie recipe
- Make sure the tools and ingredients are prepared before you start mixing. This is important when making the pastry, as you ideally want to keep it as cold as possible.
- Take time to read through the recipe so you are familiar with each step of the process. Do not skip details and instructions given as it could affect the results, especially with the pastry.
- Make sure you use cold butter and ice water when making pastry. Remember it is important to keep the pastry as cold as possible throughout the process of bringing it together.
- Keeping your pastry as cold as possible helps stop it from misshaping and contracting when baking. Hence popping it in the freezer for a second chill before baking is really important.
- Fill the chilled cases well, pushing the mincemeat down gently and levelling the top. Well filled pastry cases will hold their shape better and bake up well too.
- If you wish, you could use a star cutter for the pastry topper too. Or freestyle it and have fun cutting out your own topper shapes from pastry!
- A dusting of icing sugar (aka “snow” according to my children!) makes these mini mince pies extra special and festive!
If you have any other questions about this recipe, please leave me a comment below, I would love to help. And if you do make this recipe for mini mince pies, please do leave me a comment and rating below to let me know how you enjoyed it! Additionally, you could also post a picture on Instagram and tag me when you share it with the world. You already know I would love to see!
More festive recipes from my blog for you to enjoy
Do check out these other delicious recipes on my blog too:
Sweet shortcrust pastry: part of my ‘baking basics’ series, I believe a good, reliable sweet shortcrust pastry recipe is a must in the repertoire of any baker. Follow my guide, with lots of top tips to help you make beautiful rich, flakey sweet shortcrust pastry like a pro!
Homemade mincemeat: my homemade mincemeat is packed with a beautiful mix of dried fruit, nuts and spices. Along with a few generous spoonfuls of alcohol too, this delivers all the cosy flavours and delights of Christmas!
Mince pie cupcakes: these cupcakes are an extravagant cupcake version of the traditional mince pie! Light and fluffy vanilla cupcakes are filled with my homemade mincemeat and topped with a heavenly, smooth and indulgent brandy buttercream. Christmas baking at its best!
Christmas pudding cookies: what happens when brownie cookies get festive? The results are these fabulously adorable Christmas pudding cookies! A bake that is as fun to make as it is to eat, these cookies are brilliant to make and enjoy with children and all the family!
So many ideas, please do check out my Christmas baking section for even more festive recipes!
For now though, thanks for joining me today, my friends. Wishing you and all your loved ones a very Happy Christmas, from our home to yours! x