Delia Smith Mince Pies Recipe

Delia Smith Mince Pies Recipe
Yields: 1 Serving Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 30 Mins Cook Time: 25 Mins Total Time: 55 Mins

Delia Smith’s Mince Pies are a quintessential festive treat, embodying the spirit of the holiday season. Renowned for her reliable and delicious recipes, Delia Smith brings to life this traditional Christmas favorite with her easy-to-follow mince pies recipe. These pies, with their flaky pastry and rich, spiced filling, are sure to bring a touch of warmth and joy to any holiday gathering.

What is Delia Smith Mince Pies?

Delia Smith mince pies are delicious pastries filled with homemade mincemeat, made with dried fruits, nuts, spices, and brandy. They are a traditional British dessert, especially popular during the Christmas season.

This recipe yields about 12-18 mince pies and can be prepared in a couple of hours, making it perfect for holiday baking sessions.

Delia Smith Mince Pies

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Why You Love this Recipe

This recipe stands out for several key reasons:

  • Ease of Preparation: The process is straightforward, featuring an easy-to-make pastry and a rich, flavorful mincemeat.
  • Customizability: It’s highly adaptable. You can switch up the fruits, nuts, and alcohol, or even modify it to be vegan or gluten-free.
  • Festive Charm: Decorating these pies with various shapes and a dusting of icing sugar adds a delightful, snowy touch, perfect for the holiday season.
  • Comforting Delight: The combination of warm, crispy pastry and sweet, spiced filling creates a cozy, aromatic treat that’s sure to be a hit in any household.

Ingredients Needed to Make Delia Smith Mince Pies

To make Delia Smith’s mince pies, you will need the following ingredients:

For the Pastry:

  • 350g plain flour
  • 75g lard
  • 75g butter
  • A pinch of salt
  • Cold water
  • A little milk
  • Icing sugar

For the Mincemeat:

  • 450g Bramley apples, peeled, cored, and finely chopped
  • 225g shredded suet
  • 350g raisins
  • 225g sultanas
  • 225g currants
  • 225g mixed candied peel, finely chopped
  • 350g soft dark brown sugar
  • Grated zest and juice of 2 oranges
  • Grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 50g whole almonds, cut into slivers
  • 4 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 6 tablespoons brandy


  • A food processor or a mixing bowl and a pastry blender
  • A large mixing bowl
  • A wooden spoon
  • A grater
  • A sharp knife and a chopping board
  • A measuring jug and spoons
  • A sieve
  • A rolling pin
  • A 7.5cm fluted pastry cutter
  • A 6cm pastry cutter
  • A pair of scissors
  • Two 12-hole patty tins
  • A pastry brush
  • A wire rack
  • An airtight container

Instructions to Make Delia Smith’s Mince Pies

Here are the steps to make Delia Smith’s mince pies, from start to finish:

Step 1: Make the Mincemeat

The first step is to make the mincemeat, which can be done several weeks or months in advance, and stored in a cool and dark place. The longer you leave it, the more the flavors will develop and mature.

Making the Mincemeat

  1. Combine the apples, suet, raisins, sultanas, currants, candied peel, sugar, orange and lemon zest and juice, almonds, and spices in a large mixing bowl. Mix well with a wooden spoon until evenly distributed.
  2. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and leave it in a cool place for 12 hours or overnight to allow the flavors to mingle.
  3. Preheat the oven to 120°C (250°F, gas mark 1/2).
  4. Transfer the mincemeat to a large baking dish and cover it loosely with foil. Bake in the oven for 3 hours, stirring occasionally, to melt the suet and coat the fruits.
  5. Remove from the oven, let it cool slightly, stir in the brandy, and spoon the mincemeat into sterilized jars, leaving a little space at the top. Seal the jars tightly and store them in a cool and dark place until needed.

Step 2: Make the Pastry

The next step is to make the pastry, which can be done on the same day or a day before you want to bake the pies. The pastry is a simple and quick shortcrust that uses lard and butter for extra flakiness.

Making the Pastry

  1. Add the flour, salt, lard, and butter to a food processor, pulsing until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. You can also use a mixing bowl and pastry blender, rubbing the fats into the flour with your fingertips.
  2. Add 3 tablespoons of cold water, pulsing or mixing until the dough comes together. Add more water if needed until the dough leaves the bowl clean.
  3. Wrap the dough in a plastic bag and refrigerate for 30 minutes to rest and relax.

Step 3: Roll Out the Pastry and Cut Out the Rounds

Roll out the pastry and cut out the rounds to form the bases and lids of the pies. Use a 7.5cm fluted pastry cutter for the bases and a 6cm pastry cutter for the lids. Star-shaped or heart-shaped cutters can also be used for the lids.

Rolling Out and Cutting the Pastry

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F, gas mark 6) and lightly grease the patty tins.
  2. Divide the pastry in half and roll out one half on a well-floured surface, about 3mm thick.
  3. Cut out 24 rounds with the 7.5cm fluted pastry cutter, re-rolling scraps as needed. Press the cutter firmly without twisting.
  4. Press the rounds into the patty tins, ensuring no air bubbles.
  5. Fill each pastry case with a heaped teaspoon of mincemeat.
  6. Roll out the other half of the pastry and repeat the process with the 6cm pastry cutter for 24 smaller rounds, or use a star-shaped or heart-shaped cutter.
  7. Dampen the edges of the smaller rounds or shapes with water and place them on top of the mincemeat, pressing lightly to seal the edges.

Step 4: Bake the Pies and Sprinkle with Icing Sugar

The final step is to bake the pies and add a festive touch with icing sugar. Pies can also be frozen at this stage and baked from frozen when needed.

Baking the Pies

  1. Brush the tops of the pies with milk and make three small snips in each lid’s center with scissors. Skip this step if using star-shaped or heart-shaped lids.
  2. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden and crisp.
  3. Let the pies cool slightly in the tins before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Sprinkle with icing sugar through a sieve for a snowy effect.

Delia Smith Mince Pies

What Do I Serve With Delia Smith Mince Pies?

While Delia Smith’s mince pies are a treat on their own, pairing them with the right accompaniments can elevate the indulgence:

  • Cream: Enhance the pies with freshly whipped cream flavored with sugar and vanilla, or opt for the convenience of ready-made whipped or squirty cream.
  • Custard: Serve the pies with homemade custard, a blend of milk, eggs, sugar, and vanilla, or use store-bought custard for ease.
  • Ice Cream: A scoop of vanilla ice cream makes an excellent topping, or choose flavors like rum and raisin, caramel, or cinnamon to complement the mincemeat.
  • Brandy Butter: Spread homemade or store-bought brandy butter on the pies for an added layer of richness and flavor.

Pro Tips to Make Perfect Delia Smith Mince Pies

Achieve perfection in your mince pies with these expert tips:

  • Chilled Pastry: Ensure your pastry is thoroughly chilled before rolling. This prevents shrinking and tearing during the rolling process.
  • Thin Pastry Rolling: Aim for a thin rollout of the pastry for a delightfully flaky and crisp texture. Be mindful not to overwork the dough to avoid it becoming tough.
  • Clean Cutting: Use a sharp, fluted pastry cutter for precise cuts. A quick tap, without twisting, ensures the pastry doesn’t stick and maintains shape.
  • Balanced Filling: Fill the cases with just the right amount of mincemeat; too much can lead to overflowing or bursting during baking.
  • Seal Edges Properly: Dampen the pastry edges with water and press gently to seal. This helps keep the mincemeat contained and prevents leaking.
  • Venting the Pies: Make small cuts in the pastry lids to allow steam to escape, preventing the pies from cracking or bursting in the oven.
  • Final Touches: Brush the pie tops with milk for a golden finish and dust with icing sugar for a festive, snowy appearance.

Variations of Delia Smith Mince Pies

Customize your mince pies to cater to various tastes and dietary preferences:

  • Vegan Version: Use vegan butter or margarine instead of traditional fats for the pastry. Opt for vegan suet in the mincemeat, and brush the tops with plant-based milk.
  • Gluten-Free Alternative: Substitute plain flour with a gluten-free flour blend and add a touch of xanthan gum for binding. Ensure your suet is also gluten-free.
  • Sugar-Free Option: For a sugar-free pastry, incorporate natural sweeteners like stevia or erythritol. Choose or prepare a sugar-free mincemeat variant.
  • Chocolate Twist: Add cocoa powder to your pastry mix for a chocolatey touch. Consider using chocolate chips in the mincemeat and drizzle baked pies with melted chocolate for an extra indulgent treat.

How to Store Mince Pies in the Refrigerator

Proper storage is crucial for maintaining the freshness and flavor of your leftover mince pies:

  1. Cooling: Allow the pies to cool completely on a wire rack before storing. This prevents moisture buildup which can lead to sogginess.
  2. Room Temperature Storage: Place the cooled pies in an airtight container, arranging them in a single layer. If stacking, separate layers with parchment paper to prevent sticking.
  3. Refrigeration: For longer storage, the pies can be refrigerated. Store them in an airtight container for up to a week.
  4. Freezing: Mince pies can be frozen for up to 3 months. Wrap each pie individually in cling film or aluminum foil and place them in a freezer-safe bag or container. Label with the date for easy reference.

How to Reheat Delia Smith Mince Pies Leftovers

Reheating mince pies correctly can help preserve their texture and flavor:

Oven Reheating (Recommended):

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan, gas mark 4).
  • Remove the pies from any wrapping if they were frozen, and place them on a baking sheet.
  • Heat for 10-15 minutes if at room temperature, or 15-20 minutes from frozen, until they are thoroughly warmed through.

Microwave Reheating:

  • While not ideal, as it can make the pastry soft, you can use a microwave for a quick reheat.
  • Place a pie on a microwave-safe plate and heat for 10-20 seconds on high. Be cautious as overheating can make the filling very hot.

Toaster Oven:

  • Preheat the toaster oven to 180°C (160°C fan, gas mark 4).
  • Place the pies on the toaster oven tray and heat for about 10 minutes or until warmed through.

Nutrition value per pie (based on 24 pies):

  • Calories: 216 kcal
  • Fat: 9.8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 29.9 g
  • Protein: 2.4 g
  • Fiber: 1.5 g
  • Sugar: 18.8 g
  • Sodium: 77 mg
  • Cholesterol: 11 mg


Can I make Delia Smith’s Mince Pies in advance and how long will they keep?

Yes, you can make Delia Smith’s Mince Pies in advance. Once baked, they can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or refrigerated for up to a week. If you want to keep them longer, they freeze well for up to 3 months. Just be sure to wrap them properly to avoid freezer burn.

How do I make my mince pies vegan or gluten-free?

You can make the pastry with vegan butter or margarine, instead of lard and butter, and use vegan suet, instead of animal suet, for the mincemeat. You can also use plant-based milk, instead of dairy milk, for brushing the tops of the pies. To make the pastry gluten-free, you can use gluten-free flour, instead of plain flour, and add a little xanthan gum, to help it bind together. You can also use gluten-free suet, instead of regular suet, for the mincemeat.

How can I prevent the pastry in Delia Smith’s Mince Pies from becoming soggy?

To prevent soggy pastry, make sure the mincemeat is cool before spooning it into the pastry cases. Additionally, avoid overfilling the pies as excess filling can leak and make the pastry soggy. Baking the pies at the right temperature and for the correct amount of time is also crucial for a crisp finish.

Final Words

Delia Smith’s mince pies are a perfect way to celebrate the festive season, with a homemade mincemeat that is rich and aromatic, and a simple and quick pastry that is light and flaky. They are easy to make and customize and can be served with various accompaniments, such as cream, custard, ice cream, or brandy butter. They are also great for storing and reheating, so you can enjoy them anytime you want. Whether you make them for yourself, your family, or your friends, you will love these delicious and comforting treats. Try them today and see for yourself why they are a classic British dessert.

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