I do love a mince pie but it hasn’t always been this way. For years I’d smile sweetly when offered one, decline and then, like some stereotypical English woman, explain that I didn’t like them and clearly there was something wrong with me and really I shouldn’t be allowed a festive name like Holly.

Well, what I meant was that I’m a pastry girl, not a filling girl. So I have rectified it with the shortest of crumbliest pastry and the smallest amount of filling possible. This pastry is so short you have to mould it with your hands. You need a VERY reliable non stick tartlet tin.

One year ago: Mini Yorkshire pudding canapes and Christmas pudding fizz and Brandy butter icing and Rudolf morsels

Two years ago: Lime meringue pie with chocolate pastry and Christmas scones and Ginger cake with Christmas cottage and Hot chocolate on a stick

Three years ago: Moonuts and Cheese biscuits and Parsnip soup and Inauthentic chicken tagine

Mince pies with crumble tops

Makes 18


  • 220g room temperature butter
  • 140g castor sugar
  • 350g plain flour
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • flaked almonds, though optional
  • 180g mincemeat

Cut the butter into pieces and place all the ingredients into a stand mixer, use the flat beater at a low speed to bring the mixture to breadcrumbs, then use your hands to squash a piece of dough the size of a walnut, into a ball. Squash into the tartlet tin and push into the edges so that you create a little tart case. Repeat until you have filled the tin.

Spoon a heaped teaspoon of mincemeat into each tart case and sprinkle the crumbly pastry (pre squashing) on top or sprinkle with flaked almonds. Bake in a 180c/gas mark 4 preheated oven or 15 – 20 minutes then allow to cool in the tartlet tin – this pastry is delicate when warm.


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