The 12 Dishes of Christmas #9

Puddings & (Mince) Pies

Last Thursday we kicked off the Great British Community festival feast series; as that time of year rolls around, at GBC we are looking to celebrate how different traditions and faiths mark the season with festive food.

A photo of Stollen cake

Regardless of our religious beliefs, most of us still look forward to spending time with family and friends around Christmas time. As everyone gets time off, and everywhere is closed, we all do something a bit different on Christmas, even if you don’t celebrate it directly. And of course December celebrations such as Chanukah have their own culinary traditions.

Just 4 more days till Christmas and we have our final 4 dishes, desserts! Hopefully there’s a recipe here that will make the perfect end to your celebration meal. With inspiration from all over the world, we think they represent modern British celebration and highlight how lucky we all are to have the food of the world on our doorsteps.

So with the other two courses covered, you should now have enough to create an entire menu. Why not try a different cuisine for each course to really give your meal an exciting difference?

Mince Pies

Surely the defining Christmas sweet treat! The mince pie is a British institution, something that are always on hand at a Christmas party or celebration.

A photo of a Mince Pie
Mince Pie

They also represent a wonderful history of global influence on British food. It’s origins can be traced back to the 13th century when crusaders returned from the middle east with a cacophony of never-before-seen herbs and spices, as well as recipes for sweet and spicy meat dishes. As everyone knows, the original mince pie was a savory affair, with a filling of minced beef or mutton. This slowly changed over centuries to become the undeniably sweet pie we have today.

Early recipes contained 13 ingredients, representing Jesus and his 12 disciples, though this is no longer followed today. Also, the claim that eating mince pies on Christmas day is illegal due to some un-repealed law is apparently an urban myth. What a shame!


For the pastry

375g/13oz plain flour
250g/9oz butter, softened
125g/4oz caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 medium free-range egg

For the filling

2 x 400g/14oz jars mincemeat
2 tangerines, zest grated and flesh chopped
1 apple, finely diced

Preparation method

1.  Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. To make the sweet pastry, rub the flour, butter, sugar and egg together with a splash of cold water until it just comes together as a dough. Do not over work the dough. Wrap the pastry in clingfilm and set aside to chill in the fridge while you make the filling.
2.  To make the filling, turn the mincemeat out into a bowl, grate the zest of the tangerines into the mincemeat, then peel and chop the fruit. Throw the tangerine and apple pieces into the bowl and blend by hand.
3.  Roll out the pastry to a 3mm/1/8in thickness. With a round pastry cutter, cut out 6 x 9cm/3½in discs of pastry. Press the pastry into the muffin cups and fill each one with a good helping of the mincemeat mixture, so that it reaches three-quarters of the way up the side of the pastry-lined cup.
4.  With a fluted pastry cutter, cut out 6 x 8cm/3¼ in pastry circles for the lids (slightly bigger than the top of the muffin cups). Place a lid on top of each pie and gently push down. Sprinkle with caster sugar.
5.  Bake for 20 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Dust with icing sugar and serve warm with fresh cream.

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