The Royal family is giving the public a first-hand look at some of the food they will be eating this holiday season. On Saturday, December 15, the website for Buckingham Palace posted a recipe for “festive mince pies,” a traditional British dessert that is filled with a mixture of dried fruits and spices called “mincemeat.”
For Britain’s most famous family, which includes Queen Elizabeth II, Prince William, Duchess Kate, Prince Harry, pregnant Duchess Meghan and a handful of little royals, these sweet pies are filled with fruit, currants, spices and a bit of alcohol.
“Give yourself plenty of time,” advises Royal Pastry Chef Kathryn Cuthbertson, who estimates she and the palace’s Chef de Partie, Victoria Scupham, will make around 1,200 mince pies for each festive reception held at the royal residences around Christmas time.
“Pastry is not something that likes to be rushed,” adds Scupham. The duo also recommend “having cold hands” when working with pastry dough, because that will help keep it at the right consistency.
The recipe requires a week of preparation for the “mincemeat” to soak, but once the filling is ready the pies can be made over the course of one day. To add a festive feel the pastries, the royal chefs suggest using a star or holly-shaped cookie cutter to shape the mince pie tops.
Check out the recipe below and bring a bit of royalty to your holiday celebration this season!
Festive Mince Pies
For the Mincemeat
• Zest and some juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
• Zest and some juice of 1 unwaxed orange
• 2 tbsps brandy
• 1 tbsp port
• 1 tbsp rum
• 1 tbsp sherry
• 1 cup suet (raw animal fat)
• 3/4 cup golden sultanas
• 1/2 cup raisins
• 1/2 cup mixed peel
• 1/2 cup currants
• 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
• 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp ground cloves
• 6 oz russet apples, peeled and grated
• 1.2 lbs sweet pastry
• Egg wash, for sticking lids on the bases
• Granulated sugar, to top the mince pies before baking
• Icing sugar, for dusting
- Place all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and stir. Then add all the liquid and grated apple and allow to soak for at least one week in a kilner jar in the fridge or pantry.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Roll the sweet pastry into a sheet approximately two to three mm thick, place on a tray, and allow to rest in the fridge. Once rested, cut tops and bottoms for your mince pies using fluted or plain cutters (selecting sizes to fit your tin). Place the pie bases into the tin and prick them with a small knife or fork to prevent the pastry from rising during the baking.
- Spoon a teaspoon of the home-made mincemeat into the base and egg wash the edge of the pastry to enable the lids to stick. Place the mince pies in the fridge to rest for another 30 minutes, then add a pastry top to each, egg washing it and pricking a small hole in the top to allow the steam to escape. Sprinkle with granulated sugar.
- Place the baking tray on the middle shelf of the preheated oven and bake the pies for about 15 minutes, or until the pastry turns golden and the mincemeat starts to boil slightly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before taking the pies out of the tin.
- Sprinkle the mince pies with icing sugar and serve immediately.