Have Fun Learning English

English Recipes

Traditional English Recipe - Mince Pies

These pies are traditionally eaten over Christmas in the UK.

First buy or make the mince meat - this is not minced meat - and remember - there's no meat in it!

mince pies

Ingredients for mincemeat (Makes approx 6lb)

1lb suet
1lb chopped raisins
1lb chopped sultanas
1lb currants
1lb brown sugar
½lb mixed peel
4oz blanched, chopped almonds
1lb grated raw apples
half a grated nutmeg
¼pt brandy or whisky
the grated rind and juice of 1 lemon

Ingredients for pies - Makes 18 pies

225g/8oz cold butter, diced
350g/12oz plain flour
100g/4oz caster sugar
280g/10oz mincemeat
1 small egg, beaten (to glaze)
Icing sugar (to dust)

Method for making the mince meat

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients and stir in the lemon and chosen alcohol.
  2. Put into sterilised jars and cover as for jam or marmalade, i.e. with a circle of grease proof paper and a screw or cloth top.
!Note - The mincemeat will keep for about a year. If, over time, it becomes a little dry, simply add more alcohol!
Preheat the oven
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6/fan assisted oven 180°C
Now make the pastry

Method for making the pastry

  1. Rub the butter into the flour
  2. Mix in the sugar and a pinch of salt
  3. Stir the pastry until it forms a ball (don't add any liquid)
  4. Knead the dough briefly until it is fairly firm. You can use the dough immediately, or put it in the fridge for later.
Now make the pies

Method for making the pies

  1. Line 18 pastry cases by pressing small balls of the dough into them. piecrust
  2. Spoon the mincemeat into the pies.
  3. Press smaller balls of dough into round lids, big enough to cover the pies. (The pies can now be frozen for up to 1 month)
  4. To glaze the pies before baking brush the tops of the pies with the beaten egg.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes until golden.
  6. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack.
  7. To serve, lightly dust with icing sugar. (The pies will keep for 3 to 4 days in an airtight container)


To bake: To cook in an oven.

To brush: To cover food with an even layer of liquid by applying it with a pastry brush, eg brush the pastry with beaten egg or milk to glaze.

To dust: To sprinkle lightly with a powder i.e. icing sugar.

To glaze: A glaze is used to give desserts a smooth and/or shiny finish.

To knead: To work a dough by hand, using a folding-back and pressing-forward motion.

To mix: To beat or stir foods together until they are combined.

To rub in: A method of incorporating fat into flour by rubbing the fat with the fingertips until it combines with the flour to form a mixture with a breadcrumb-like consistency, eg rub the butter into the flour and add enough cold water to form a smooth dough. Pastry, scones, cakes and biscuits are made using the rub in method.

To stir: To agitate an ingredient or a number of ingredients using a hand held tool such as a spoon.

Suet: Suet is traditionally made from the white fat that surrounds the kidneys of ox and lamb (mmmm). It is available ready-shredded in packets. However if you prefer, vegetarian suet is also available.

More English Recipes