Richard Bertinet’s exclusive mince pie recipe

By BBC Maestro

What better way to get into the festive spirit, than with a specially created mince pie recipe from expert baker, Richard Bertinet.

Enjoy a little treat for your tastebuds this Christmas, with Richard’s unique take on the classic mince pie. The festive flavours of spiced mincemeat and crumbly shortcrust pastry are complemented by a creamy almond frangipane, with a touch of zesty orange liquor and topped with flaked almonds – these mince pies are made to be savoured with friends and family, around the Christmas tree.

making mince pies

Made completely from scratch, these mince pies are sure to impress your guests and, if you pop them in a box with a ribbon, they make a lovely homemade gift. Although of course, once you smell these tempting treats warm out of the oven, you’ll probably want to keep them all to yourself… 

In this video lesson, which is included in Richard Bertinet’s BBC Maestro baking course, you’ll learn how to make these sensational mince pies at home, including how to make delicious shortcrust pastry and your own homemade mincemeat. 

Mince pie recipe

1 batch of sweet pastry (see recipe below) 
Jam tart tray 
Flaked almonds to decorate (optional) 
Candied orange zest to decorate (optional) 

For the filling: 
Jar of luxury mincemeat or homemade (see recipe below) 

For the creme d’amande: (this will fill 24 mince pies, generously) 

  • 125g ground almonds
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 25g plain flour
  • 2 tbsp orange liqueur 

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter the tray. 

2. Roll out a piece of pastry on a floured surface until it is 2 to 3mm thick. Using a 7cm cutter, cut out rounds and push the pastry lightly into the moulds. Leave in the fridge to rest. 

3. For the crème d’amande, you can either make it by hand or in a mixer. To make it by hand, place the softened butter into a bowl and beat it with a wooden spoon until it lightens. Then add half the ground almonds and mix through. Add in the rest of the ground almonds and mix thoroughly. Add in the sugar half at a time, add in the flour and then the eggs, one at a time. Once it is mixed well and the texture is light, add in the orange liqueur. Or, to make the almond cream in a mixer, beat the butter in the bowl with a flat paddle attachment until very soft. Keep the mixer beating and add the sugar and then the ground almonds. Add the flour, then the egg and finally the alcohol. 

4. Half fill the pastry cases with mincemeat using a spoon then cover with crème d’amande using another spoon or piping bag if you prefer. 

5. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20 – 25 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the moulds and leave to cool. These can be frozen between layers of greaseproof paper in a Tupperware box until Christmas. Defrost at room temperature or for a few minutes in a warm oven. Serve immediately, dusted with icing sugar and topped with the orange peel. 

Sweet pastry recipe (will make 48 mince pies) 

  • 350g plain flour
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 125g butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 eggs
  • zest of one orange
  • Big pinch of salt 

1. Break your 2 eggs into a small bowl, Separate the remaining egg, add the yolk to your two eggs and retain the white if you wish. Put the flour and salt into a mixing bowl, zest the orange on top of the flour and mix it in thoroughly. 

2. Put the cold butter between two pieces of greaseproof paper or butter wrappers, then bash it firmly with a rolling pin. The idea is to soften it while still keeping it cold. 

3. Put the whole slab into the bowl of flour – there is no need to chop it up. 

4. Cover the butter well with flour and tear it into large pieces. 

5. Now it’s time to flake the flour and butter together – this is where you want a really light touch. With both hands, scoop up the flour-covered butter and flick your thumbs over the surface, pushing away from you, as if you are dealing a pack of cards.  You need just a soft, skimming motion – no pressing or squeezing – and the butter will quickly start to break into smaller pieces. Keep plunging your hands into the bowl, and continue with the light flicking action, making sure all the pieces of butter remain coated with flour so they don’t become sticky. The important thing is to stop mixing when the shards of butter are the size of your little fingernail. There is an idea that you have to keep rubbing in the butter until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs, but you don’t need to take it that far. Add the sugar at this point, mixing it in evenly. 

6. Tip the eggs and extra yolk, into the flour mixture and mix together with a plastic scraper, scrape around the sides of the bowl and pull the mixture into the centre until it forms a very rough dough that shouldn’t be at all sticky. 

7. While it is still in the bowl, press down on the dough with both thumbs and roll the dough towards you. Keep then pressing with thumbs and rolling until it is turned over. Then turn the dough clockwise by 90 degrees and repeat this a few times. 

8. With the help of your spoon or scraper, turn the pastry onto a work surface. Work the dough as you did when it was in the bowl: press down on the dough with both thumbs and roll the dough towards you. Keep then pressing with thumbs and rolling until it is turned over. Then turn the dough clockwise by 90 degrees. Repeat this about four or five times in all. 

9. Now fold the pastry over itself and press down with your fingertips. Provided the dough isn’t sticky, you shouldn’t need to flour the surface, but if you do, make sure you give it only a really light dusting, not handfuls, as this extra flour will all go into your pastry and make it heavier. Repeat the folding and pressing down with your fingertips a couple of times until the dough is like plasticine, and looks homogeneous. 

10. Lightly roll the pastry flat and then flour it a little. Wrap in greaseproof paper and rest it in the fridge. Note: the dough can be kept for up to 5 days in the fridge or eight weeks in the freezer. 

Mincemeat recipe (To fill 5-6 jars)

  • 4 medium eating or cooking apples
  • Zest and juice of 3 oranges
  • 500g raisins
  • 500g currants
  • 500g suet
  • 1kg soft brown sugar
  • 100g candied orange peel, finely chopped
  • 50g almonds, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 125ml brandy
  • 100ml orange liqueur 

1.  Score the apples around the centre and place them in a dish. Bake for 1 hour or until soft in an oven heated to 200°C/400°F. Squeeze all the pulp from the apple skins into a large bowl, using a ricer or by passing it through a sieve. 

2.  Add the orange juice and zest, then stir in the rest of the ingredients. 

3. Cover the mincemeat and leave it in a cool place for a couple of days. Give it an occasional stir. Fill the mincemeat into sterilised pots or jars, taking care to remove any air bubbles. Seal and store in the larder. It will improve with age. Wait at least 2 months before eating it, if you can. 

Candied orange zest recipe

  • 5 oranges
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 200g water 

1.  Make the sugar syrup by combining the sugar and water in a small pan and place over a medium heat. Let the sugar dissolve then bring it to a bubble and allow the syrup to thicken and reduce a little. 

2. Whilst this is happening, remove the zest from the oranges using a zester if you have one. If not, then remove strips of peel with a peeler and scrape off any of the white pith that may remain on the peel. Finely slice the peel into thin strips. 

3. Place these strips into the syrup and allow to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the peel becomes soft and translucent. Remove the peel from the syrup using a slotted spoon, letting as much of the syrup drain off as possible. 

4. Place the zest onto greaseproof paper and allow it to dry, ready for use.

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