Mary Berry Mince Pies Recipe

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

Mince pies are one of the most popular and traditional treats for Christmas. They are small pastries filled with a mixture of dried fruits, spices, and sometimes meat, called mincemeat. Mince pies have a long history, dating back to the Middle Ages when they were larger and contained more meat. Over time, they became smaller and sweeter, and the meat was replaced by suet (animal fat) or butter. Nowadays, mince pies are mostly vegetarian, and you can buy ready-made mincemeat in jars or make your own at home.

One of the best mince pie recipes I have ever tried is from Mary Berry, the famous British baker and cookbook author. She is known for her simple and delicious recipes, and her mince pies are no exception. Her recipe has a few special touches that make her mince pies stand out from the rest. First, she adds orange zest to the pastry, which gives it a lovely citrus flavor and aroma. Second, she mixes dried apricots with the mincemeat, which adds some extra sweetness and texture. Third, she tops each mince pie with some grated marzipan, which melts and browns in the oven, creating a crunchy and nutty topping.

In this article, I will show you how to make Mary Berry’s mince pies step by step, using her original recipe.

What is Mary Berry Mince Pie Recipe?

Mary Berry’s mince pie recipe is a traditional British dessert that consists of small pastry shells filled with a spiced fruit mixture and topped with a layer of marzipan. The recipe uses ready-made mincemeat, which is a mixture of dried fruits, spices, and sometimes meat, and adds orange zest for a refreshing flavor. The pastry is made with flour, butter, icing sugar, and egg, and can be shaped into star or round forms. The pies are baked in the oven until golden and crisp and served warm or cold.

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Why You Love this Recipe

This mince pie recipe is a favorite for several reasons:

  • Simplicity in Preparation: The recipe is straightforward, utilizing ready-made mincemeat and basic ingredients. Plus, the convenience of preparing the pastry and filling in advance simplifies the process, allowing for easy assembly later.
  • Customizability: Its versatility is a key feature. Whether you opt for different mincemeat varieties and dried fruits or decide to make your mincemeat, this recipe adapts to your preferences. Additionally, the marzipan topping can be adjusted or omitted according to taste.
  • Rich Flavor Profile: The combination of flaky, buttery pastry with a hearty, fruit-filled center, topped with a crisp, almond layer, makes each bite a delight. The inclusion of orange zest brings a refreshing balance, cutting through the sweetness of the mincemeat and marzipan.
  • Perfect for Celebrations: Mince pies are synonymous with Christmas festivities. This recipe captures the essence of tradition and nostalgia, making it ideal for gatherings with loved ones or as a personal treat alongside your favorite beverage.

Ingredients Needed to Make Mary Berry Mince Pies

To make Mary Berry mince pies, you will need the following ingredients.

For the pastry:

  • 175g/6oz plain flour
  • 75g/2½oz cold butter, cubed
  • 25g/1oz icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 large orange, grated zest only
  • 1 free-range egg, beaten

For the filling:

  • 250g/9oz good-quality ready-made mincemeat
  • 100g/3½oz ready-to-eat dried apricots, finely chopped
  • 125g/4oz uncolored marzipan, grated

Useful equipment

  • a baking sheet
  • a 12-hole muffin tin or mini tart tin
  • a food processor (optional)
  • a rolling pin or a wine bottle
  • a 7.5cm/3in fluted pastry cutter
  • a coarse grater
  • a wire rack

Instructions to Make Mary Berry Mince Pies

Follow these simple steps to make this recipe

Step 1: Preheat the oven and prepare the baking sheet

The first step is to preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6 and place a baking sheet inside to heat up. This will help the mince pies cook evenly and prevent the pastry from shrinking. You can use any baking sheet that fits in your oven, but make sure it is large enough to hold the muffin tin.

Step 2: Make the pastry

The next step is to make the pastry. You can do this by hand or by using a food processor. If you are using a food processor, pulse the flour and butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Then, add the icing sugar and orange zest and pulse again. Finally, add the beaten egg and pulse until the dough comes together. If you are doing this by hand, rub the flour and butter together in a large bowl using your fingertips. Then, stir in the icing sugar and orange zest. Finally, add the beaten egg and mix with a knife or your hands until the dough comes together.

Once you have the dough, wrap it in greaseproof paper and chill it in the fridge for 10-15 minutes, or until firm. This will make it easier to roll out and cut.

Step 3: Roll out the pastry and line the muffin tin

When the pastry has rested, unwrap it and place it on a lightly floured work surface. Roll it out thinly, to a thickness of 1-2mm. You can use a rolling pin or a wine bottle for this. Then, use the fluted pastry cutter to stamp out 12 rounds from the pastry. You may need to re-roll the scraps to get enough rounds. Line each hole of the muffin tin with one of the pastry rounds and prick the base of each with a fork. This will prevent the pastry from puffing up too much in the oven.

Step 4: Make the filling and fill the pastry cases

The next step is to make the filling. In a small bowl, mix the mincemeat with the chopped apricots until well combined. You can use any brand of mincemeat you like, or make your own if you have time. The apricots add some extra sweetness and texture to the filling, but you can also use other dried fruits, such as cranberries, cherries, or figs. Divide the filling equally among the pastry cases, using a teaspoon or a small spoon. You don’t want to overfill the cases, as the filling will expand in the oven.

Step 5: Top the mince pies with grated marzipan

The final step is to top the mince pies with grated marzipan. You can use any type of marzipan you like, but make sure it is uncolored, as colored marzipan will burn in the oven. Grate the marzipan using a coarse grater, and sprinkle some over each mince pie. You don’t need to cover the whole surface, as the marzipan will melt and spread in the oven. The marzipan adds a lovely almond flavor and a crunchy texture to the mince pies.

Step 6: Bake the mince pies and enjoy

Slide the muffin tin onto the hot baking sheet and bake the mince pies in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. The pastry should be flaky and the filling should be bubbling. The marzipan should be melted and browned on top. Remove the mince pies from the oven and let them cool slightly in the tin. Then, transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely, or enjoy them warm. Dust them with some icing sugar for a festive touch, and serve them with some whipped cream, custard, or brandy butter. You can also store them in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or freeze them for up to 2 months.

Mary Berry Mince Pies
Mary Berry Mince Pies

What Do I Serve With Mary Berry Mince Pie?

Mince pies are versatile, serving as a delightful dessert, snack, or even a unique breakfast or brunch option.

To enhance their flavor, consider these pairing suggestions:

  • Classic Toppings: Enhance their richness with whipped cream, custard, or brandy butter. These toppings, homemade or store-bought, complement the pies’ textures and flavors.
  • Cool Contrasts: For a different experience, serve the pies with ice cream or yogurt. Flavors like vanilla, cinnamon, or ginger are particularly complementary to the mince pies’ flavors.
  • Cheese Pairings: For an unconventional twist, try pairing the pies with cheese. Hard, salty varieties like cheddar or stilton offer a savory counterbalance to the pies’ sweetness, adding complexity to each bite.
  • Fruit Accompaniments: Fresh or dried fruits can introduce a fresh element. Choices like berries, apples, pears, or oranges not only add a light, refreshing touch but also harmonize beautifully with the mincemeat and marzipan flavors.

Pro Tips to Make Perfect Mary Berry Mince Pie

Achieving perfection in your Mary Berry mince pies is easier than you think. Follow these expert tips for consistently impressive results:

  • Oven Preparation: Start by preheating your oven along with the baking sheet. This step is crucial for even cooking and to prevent the pastry from shrinking. Ensure your baking sheet is large enough to accommodate the muffin tin.
  • Chilling is Key: Chill both the pastry and marzipan before rolling and cutting. This makes them more manageable and helps maintain their shape during baking. The pastry should be chilled for about 10-15 minutes, and the marzipan for approximately 30 minutes.
  • Filling Amount: Be mindful not to overfill the pastry cases. A small amount of filling, such as a teaspoon or spoonful, allows for expansion during baking and provides room for the marzipan to melt and spread. Gently pressing down the filling with a fork can create perfect indentations for the marzipan.
  • Watch the Baking Time: Avoid overbaking the pies. The ideal mince pie should have a golden-brown, crisp pastry with a bubbling filling and melted, lightly browned marzipan on top. Oven times may vary, but 12-15 minutes is typically sufficient. Regularly monitor the pies to prevent burning.

Variations of Mary Berry Mince Pie

Enhance your mince pie experience with these creative twists:

  1. Chocolate Mince Pies: Incorporate chocolate chips into the mincemeat or drizzle melted chocolate over the baked pies. For a deeper chocolate flavor, add cocoa powder to the pastry dough or melted chocolate to the marzipan.
  2. Star-Shaped Mince Pies: Utilize a star-shaped pastry cutter for a festive touch. Cover the filling completely or partially with the pastry stars. Small star cutouts can also be used as delightful toppings.
  3. Frangipane Mince Pies: Blend frangipane—a sweet almond paste—into the mincemeat or layer it atop the filling for a luxurious twist. Homemade frangipane can be made with butter, sugar, eggs, and ground almonds, or opt for a store-bought version. Sprinkling flaked almonds over the frangipane prior to baking adds a crunchy texture.

How do I store Mary Berry Mince Pie Leftovers?

Extend the enjoyment of your mince pies with proper storage:

  1. Cool Completely: Let the pies cool entirely on a wire rack to retain their crispness. For an extra festive touch, dust with icing sugar if you haven’t already.
  2. Airtight Storage: Place the mince pies in an airtight container, like a plastic box or tin, to prevent them from drying out or absorbing unwanted fridge odors. Layering with greaseproof paper helps keep them from sticking.
  3. Freezing for Later: Freeze pies in convenient batches. Wrap each batch in cling film and foil or place in freezer bags or containers. Label each batch with the date and contents, and consume within two months for optimal taste and texture.

How do I reheat Mary Berry Mince Pie Leftovers?

Oven Reheating Method

For the best results in restoring the mince pies to their original glory:

  1. Preheat Your Oven: Set your oven to 180°C (160°C for fan-assisted ovens) or Gas Mark 4. This temperature is ideal for reheating without overcooking.
  2. Prepare the Pies for Reheating: Place the mince pies on a baking sheet. To prevent them from drying out, lightly sprinkle water over them. This small step can make a big difference in maintaining their moisture.
  3. Reheating Time: Bake the pies for 5-10 minutes. Keep an eye on them – you’re looking for them to become hot throughout and regain their crispness. The exact time may vary slightly based on your oven and the size of the pies.

Microwave Reheating Method

For a quicker reheating option:

  1. Set Up for Microwave Reheating: Arrange the mince pies on a microwave-safe plate. To avoid them turning soggy, cover them with a damp paper towel. This helps in retaining the moisture while preventing them from becoming too soft.
  2. Microwave Timing: Heat the pies in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds. This should be sufficient time to warm them through without making them overly soft.
  3. Adding a Creamy Touch: If you enjoy your pies with an extra layer of decadence, consider adding a dollop of whipped cream, custard, or brandy butter on top. After placing this topping, microwave for an additional 5 seconds, just until the topping melts slightly.

Nutrition value (per serving):

  • Calories: 270 kcal
  • Fat: 12 g
  • Carbohydrates: 38 g
  • Protein: 4 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Sugar: 25 g
  • Sodium: 80 mg
  • Cholesterol: 35 mg
  • Vitamin A: 6%
  • Vitamin C: 10%
  • Calcium: 4%
  • Iron: 8%

FAQs

How do I make my own mincemeat?

You can make your own mincemeat by combining some chopped dried fruits, such as raisins, currants, sultanas, cranberries, cherries, or figs, with some grated apple, brown sugar, mixed spice, nutmeg, lemon and orange zest and juice, and brandy or rum in a large bowl. Cover the bowl with a cloth and leave it in a cool place for 12 hours, or overnight, to let the flavors mingle. Then, transfer the mixture to a large saucepan and cook over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the fruits are soft and plump. Let the mincemeat cool completely, then spoon it into sterilized jars and seal tightly. Store the mincemeat in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months, or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

How do I make my pastry flaky and buttery?

You can make your pastry flaky and buttery by following some simple tips. First, make sure your butter is cold and cubed, and your flour is sifted and measured accurately. Second, work quickly and lightly, and avoid overworking the dough, as this will develop gluten and make the pastry tough. Third, chill the dough before rolling it out and lining the muffin tin, as this will help the pastry hold its shape and prevent shrinking. Fourth, preheat the oven and the baking sheet, as this will help the pastry cook evenly and rise well.

How do I prevent my marzipan from burning?

You can prevent your marzipan from burning by using uncolored marzipan, as colored marzipan will burn faster in the oven. You can also grate the marzipan finely, and sprinkle it lightly over the mince pies, as this will help the marzipan melt and spread evenly. You can also keep an eye on the mince pies check them frequently, and cover them with some foil if they are browning too quickly.

Final Words

I hope you enjoyed this article and learned how to make Mary Berry’s mince pies step by step. These mince pies are perfect for Christmas, or any other occasion when you want to treat yourself and your loved ones. They are easy to make, delicious, and festive, and they have a few special touches that make them stand out from the rest. Try them and let me know what you think.

Happy baking!

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