12 Days of Christmas Baking - Michael Manners' mince pies


One of Australia's most influential chefs, Michael Manners really helped shape the whole idea of 'regional cuisine', (at least here in NSW), and has always been a fantastic supporter of Mandagery Creek Venison.

With classical French training he's also pretty nifty with a rolling pin, so it's no surprise that his recipe for that Christmas classic; mince pies, is an absolute winner.

I admit I was a little fearful of using suet as he suggests but honestly it does make a (positive) difference and gives the pies a beautiful richness. Our butcher sent me home with a chunk of the stuff, which I hadn't previously realised is grated beef kidney...er...anyway, as I said, the end result is worth any misgivings you might have about using this ingredient. And of course it wouldn't be the end of the world if you left it out all together.

Michael Manners' Mince Pies

Rich shortcrust pastry
225gm plain flour
pinch of salt
150gm butter
1 tbspn caster sugar
1 egg yolk
about 25ml cold water
225gm currants
225 sultanas
225 raisins
225 dark soft browm sugar
175 apple, peeled and finely chopped
100 mixed candied peel
100g beef suet, finely grated (I used a microplane)
75 coarsely chopped walnuts
100 dark rum finely grated
rind of 1 orange & 1 lemon
15g mixed spice pince grated nutmeg
30 ml lemon juice

For the mincemeat, mix all the ingredients well, then place in sealed jars and store in a cool place. This mixture will keep for up to a year and ideally needs a couple of weeks to mature.

For the pastry, combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until it resembles a coarse sand. Turn out to a bench and work into a dough. Wrap in plastic and place in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes. Roll out the pastry until about 3mm thick and line patty tins. Place back in the fridge to rest for another half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 180C. Fill pie tins 3/4 full with mincemeat. Cut out pastry tops and dip both sides in milk. Press gently on to the filled bases and make a small hole in the top of each pie. Bake for 25 minutes or until pastry is golden.

Cool on a wire rack and dust with icing sugar before serving.

Note - this mincemeat recipe makes enough for three batches of 24 pies. You could halve it if you like or keep the extra for fruit cakes.


  1. delicious and inspiring as always. off to the kitchen i go.

  2. Made these for christmas and am now coming back to pinch the pastry recipe for an apple pie! These will be a new family tradition every year now, delicious :)

  3. My Nana made the best fruit mince pies EVER I haven't tasted one nearly as good as hers. She used beef suet in her fruit mince too and let the fruit macerate in sherry for a good couple of weeks before she handmade the rich shortcrust pastry and baked them, she made about five dozen a year to give to her family.
    One year she asked me to make the fruit mince for her, so she set up her hand mincer (screwed to the table) and told me how to make it, and just put this amount of alcohol (sweet sherry). I minced all the fruit and suet and put it in the jar, and put the sherry in, I noticed there was still a bit of sherry left in the bottle and decided to put it in, covering all the fruit mince in the alcohol.
    A few weeks later, my Nana was visiting and talking to my mother, when I saw her she asked me what I had done to the fruit mince, I was worried because I thought that I had done something wrong and that she had to make another batch. I said I hadn't done anything and my mother asked what was wrong with the fruit mince and my Nana replied that it was the best fruit mince she ever had!
    I am so pleased to see a recipe for fruit mince that is similar to my Nana's recipe I now know where I can get it, its too late to make it for this year but I will be considering it for next year. I am new to your blog and have subscribed, I look forward to reading all your posts (sorry if I went on too much about my Nana, sadly both she and my mother are now deceased and this was a happy memory for me)


local is lovely All rights reserved
Design + Development by Ana Degenaar