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Star-topped Mince Pies

This is the way I make my mince pies, and there is no changing me or them: they are small, to be popped straight into the mouth in one go; the pastry is plain, the better to contrast with the rich, fruited filling; and they have not full casings but little stars as lids, which makes them look beautiful and taste flutteringly light.

By all means use good shop-bought mincemeat if you want, but I’m hoping you might give my new Cranberry-Studded Mincemeat a go (see p.189): it tastes both rich and boozy and fresh and fruity at the same time; and it makes for a slightly different mince pie, but in a welcome rather than challenging way.

With mince pies, I must have butter of some sort: I’ll take brandy butter (my mother’s), rum butter or a brown-sugar bourbon butter (see p.190 for butter recipes). Mince pies are to be savoured – not just as one of the last truly seasonal foods in England, but also as a home-grown culinary triumph, provoking one delighted Frenchman to exclaim in a letter, as quoted proudly by Agnes Jekyll in her Kitchen Essays: “ce que j’adore dans la cuisine anglaise ce sont vos petits mince-pi”.

Star-topped Mince Pies



Make the mince pies up to 1 week ahead and leave to cool. Store in an airtight container layered up between sheets of greaseproof paper. Pop into a warm oven for 3–4 minutes before serving, dusted with icing sugar.


Make and pack the pies as above and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight on a cooling rack and reheat as above.

Extract from the book Nigella Christmas by Nigella Lawson, rrp $69.95. Copyright Random House 2008

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» Top Wine Matches For This Recipe

Andrew Graham

Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet are the best wines to pair with Star-topped Mince Pies.


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Posted by Jenny231Report
Solite vegetable shortening is soft and can be stored at room temperature and is what the Australian bakers use - copha will do but needs to be refrigerated. Solite can be purchaed from Taylored Treats in Rowville, Vic, Australia for about $4 for a 500gm tub., search google maps for directions but make sure you call ahead to ensure someone is available to serve you when you get there. mail order is available too.
Posted by PP6Report
I think copha is vegetable shortening