How to make the Queen's mince pies

Caroline Allen
·Contributor
The pastry chef offers up some top tips. [Photo: Getty]
The pastry chef offers up some top tips. [Photo: Getty]

We’ve often wondered what the Queen eats on Christmas day. Does she eat before or after her speech? Does she like turkey, or something less traditional?

There are many unanswered questions, but, one we no longer have to wonder about is how the Royals have their mince pies.

The Queen’s pastry chef has not only revealed the royal mince pie recipe but also the best way to prepare them to make them fit for the Queen.

Move over Mary Berry, there’s a new star baker in town.

There’s one catch though. These mince pies require a few months preparation, so they might be more suitable for next Christmas.

Wait, Mary, come back.

READ MORE: The Queen has rules about how many people can sit down for dinner

The Queen herself indulges in these delicious mince pies, which make us hungry just by looking at them.

“Everything from the mincemeat to the pastry is handmade by the small team in the kitchens at Buckingham Palace. The mincemeat is made months in advance and stored in the pantry.” The recipe says.

That explains why Royal Pastry Chef Kathryn Cuthbertson’s golden rule is to “give yourself plenty of time” to make her creations.

“Pastry is not something that likes to be rushed,” agrees Chef de Partie, Victoria Scupham.

Victoria’s other top tip is to keep your hands cold whilst working with pastry - a tip we can benefit from knowing all year round.

READ MORE: First look at the Queen’s Christmas trees

Since the pair will create over 1200 mince pies each this festive period, it seems like it’s advice worth following.

The actual ingredients aren’t far off what you would expect of and traditional mince pie recipe.

You’ll need a well-stocked alcohol cupboard, though. It calls for not one but four different spirits; brandy, port, rum and sherry.

All of which are mixed with the most sumptuous of festive ingredients from currants to ground nutmeg and cinnamon.

The entire royal recipe is as follows:

Ingredients

For the Mincemeat
zest and some juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
zest and some juice of 1 unwaxed orange
2 tablespoons brandy
1 tablespoon of port
1 tablespoon of rum
1 tablespoon of sherry
120g (1 cup) suet
160g (3/4 cup) golden sultanas
100g (1/2 cup) raisins
100g (1/2 cup) mixed peel
100g (1/2 cup) currants
1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1.2 teaspoon ground cloves
160 (6oz) russet apples, peeled and grated
500g (1lb 2 oz) sweet pastry
Egg washed for sticking lids on the bases
Granulated sugar for the top of the mince pies before baking
Icing sugar for dusting

Equipment:
12 hole non-stick shallow baking tray /
mince pie tin 32 x 24 cm/ 12.5 x 9"
fluted or plain cutters

Method

  1. Place all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and stir. Then add all the liquid and grated apple and allow to soak for at least one week in a 1kg kilner jar sat in the fridge or pantry.

  2. Preheat the oven to 190° C (375° F, gas mark 5)

  3. Roll the sweet pastry into a sheet approximately 2 to 3 mm thick, place on a tray, and allow to rest in the fridge. Once rested, cut tops and bottoms for your mince pies using fluted or plain cutters (selecting sizes to fit your tin). Place the pie bases into the tin and prick them with a small knife or fork to prevent the pastry from rising during the baking.

  4. Spoon a teaspoon of the home-made mincemeat into the base and egg wash the edge of the pastry to enable the lids to stick. Place the mince pies in the fridge to rest for another 30 minutes, then add a pastry top to each, egg washing it and pricking a small hole in the top to allow the steam to escape. Sprinkle with granulated sugar.

  5. Place the baking tray on the middle shelf of the preheated oven and bake the pies for about 15 minutes, or until the pastry turns golden and the mincemeat starts to boil slightly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before taking the pies out of their tin.

  6. Sprinkle the mince pies with icing sugar and serve immediately. To add a festive feel, the mince pie tops could be shaped with a star cutter or perhaps a holly-shaped cutter.

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