Mince Pies

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

mince pies, small pies filled with a sweet mixture known as mincemeat, are essential to the British Christmas. They are double crusted, round, and baked in patty pans or little foil molds. Plain or sweet short crust, or puff pastry, is used, according to taste. See pie dough. The top crust is now often cut in a star shape, just one more innovation in the long history of these pies. The mincemeat filling, homemade or purchased, consists of minced or chopped dried fruit (currants, raisins, sultanas); candied peel; apple; beef suet (or sometimes butter or vegetable fat); sugar; sweet spices such as cinnamon and cloves; and brandy to taste. The “meat” element of the name is explained by the former addition of meat to these ingredients.