Tag Archives: christmas

mince pies


Christmas isn’t complete without mince pies.

The filling for the pies needs to be made a few weeks in advance. I combine two or three handfuls of raisins with some chopped peel and some chopped almonds. I add the juice  and zest of a clementine and a lemon, a spoon of brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, mixed spice and a slug or two of brandy. I pack it into a  jar, close the lid and keep in the fridge till needed. On the day I make the pies, I add half a finely chopped apple to the mixture.

I make the shortcrust pastry in the Magimix with 200 gm flour, a pinch of salt and 100 gm butter, adding enough cold water until I get a ball of pastry, which rests 30 minutes in the fridge. I roll it out and cut  12 rounds with a biscuit cutter  to line a  buttered muffin tin. I put a teaspoon of filling in each case and place a cut-out star of pastry on top. I brush the stars with milk and sprinkle a little caster sugar on top. They cook in the oven at 180°C for 15 to 20 minutes.

I freeze them and take out on Christmas morning to re-warm after lunch. Brandy butter goes well with the pies, as does a dollop of whipped cream.



Zelten is a speciality from SouthTyrol. This is my mother-in-law’s (Lea De Poli) recipe, which is always warmly welcomed at the Christmas table. I cook it now and freeze until Christmas morning.

I mix the dried fruits: 200 gm chopped figs, 200 gm chopped walnuts, 100 gm raisins and 100 gm chopped almonds. Then I melt 100 gm butter and, when cool, add 150 gm sugar, 2 eggs, 500gm plain flour, a pinch of salt, a glass of milk and  a packet of baking powder. I incorporate the dried fruits and fill a lightly greased baking tray. I arrange some extra almonds on top and brush with beaten egg.  It cooks in the oven at 180°C for 30-40 minutes.

I serve the cake cut into small squares and piled on a festive plate with a sprig or two of holly. I love kitsch!