Orange Mince Pie Pastry

Orange Mince Pie Pastry | Selma's TableI’ve always been mad about Christmas even though as a child, it was not something we celebrated. My cousins, who are half German always did Christmas in a big way. My aunt used to bake up a storm, fiercely guarding her recipes – I most remember the almond star cookies with the cinnamon  meringue tops that she always made without fail. (Luckily, Ginger recently posted a traditional recipe for these so I can make them now!) And they always had a big, gaily decorated tree in their sitting room, which I couldn’t tear my eyes away from.

Orange Mince Pie Pastry | Selma's TableI begged and whined every year for a tree and one year, we finally got one BUT – it was unceremoniously parked outside the doors to the verandah at the rear of our house and we had no decorations – I improvised with colourful metallic sweetie wrappers which I twisted to look like bows and oh, how I loved that tree.  I sound so deprived but I wasn’t really. We were living in Nairobi, engaging mainly with our huge and extended Muslim family and it just wasn’t the done thing to celebrate Christmas – we had Eid, of course.

Needless to say, my first Christmas on my own included the largest tree we could get into the flat, strung with so many lights that we probably caused a dent in the national grid every time they were turned on. It was so laden with ornaments that the branches were bowing under their weight.

Orange Mince Pie Pastry | Selma's TableSince then, I have refined my tree decorating and have strings and strings of soft white lights – no coloured lights and certainly no flashing in time to music – which are wired to the branches so that they sit perfectly without any visible wires. There is no tinsel, no garland just lots of pretty, sparkly red, silver and gold ornaments and baubles, which have been amassed (amassed, being the key word) over the years.

Jake used to have a little tree in his room, which I do understand may be thought of as a little excessive but I had lost time to make up for! This little tree had very colourful ornaments and baubles – a practice, I am so happy to hear, that has been taken up by a friend, for her twin boys. Anyway, the bottom line is that I am just crazy about Christmas as a tradition – the twinkly lights everywhere, the smell of pine needles, the lovely things in the shops, the carols, the festive food, meeting up with friends for a Christmas drink, the parties and the general feeling of good cheer – I just love it!

Orange Mince Pie Pastry | Selma's TableAnd of course, I love the baking. This is one of the best recipes I have ever used for mince pie pastry. It’s short, rich and buttery with a wonderful flavour from the flecks of orange zest. It is not too sweet which balances with the sweet mincemeat. And it is ever so forgiving. The trimmings come together like playdoh and can be re-rolled a number of times. The dough doesn’t have to be kneaded – just patted into a disc, chilled and then rolled out. It keeps for days in the fridge too.

Orange Mince Pie Pastry | Selma's TableI always use shop bought mincemeat which I ramp up with port soaked dried cranberries and golden sultanas and orange zest. I usually grate an apple into the mixture before I fill the pies but this year I didn’t. Honestly, jazzing up shop bought mincemeat like this makes it taste absolutely wonderful and I never think to make my own from scratch.

Orange Mince Pie Pastry | Selma's Table

Pastry before being gathered and chilled

Orange Mince Pie Pastry | Selma's Table

Most years, I make at least two batches of mince pies with this pastry, usually with a glass of port and Michael Bublé for company! For me, this is when I start to feel really festive.

Orange Mince Pie Pastry | Selma's Table

I am taking these to share with the wonderful bloggers at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #47. Today we are being co-hosted by two charming ladies – Indu @Indu’s International Kitchen and Jhuls @The Not So Creative Cook Do take a moment to see what Angie, Indu and Jhuls have been up to!

Orange Mince Pie Pastry | Selma's Table

Orange Mince Pie Pastry

  • Servings: enough for 24 mince pies
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Adapted from Sainsbury’s Christmas Book by Joycelyn Dimbleby


For the mincemeat

  • 200g of dried cranberries. dried cherries and golden sultanas
  • enough port to cover the dried fruit
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 500 g mincemeat

For the pastry

  • 500g plain/AP flour
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 375 g cold butter, cubed
  • finely grated rind and juice of one orange

To assemble

  • 1 x 8cm/3in round cutter
  • 1 x 5cm/2in round cutter
  • 3 Tbsp flour in a bowl
  •  2 Tbsp water in a small glass or bowl
  • 1 Tbsp milk in a small glass or bowl
  • icing sugar



  1. Place the flour, sugar and orange zest in the bowl of a food processor, fitted with a steel blade and pulse a few times to mix.
  2. Add the chilled butter cubes and process until the mixture looks like coarse damp sand. Scrape out into a bowl and  break up any large lumps of butter or compacted mix.
  3. Using a table knife, stir in the orange juice until the pastry just starts to come together. You will think that this amount of liquid can’t possibly be enough, but it is.
  4. Gently, pat into a disk, wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 mins or overnight.


  1. Soak the dried fruit and zest in the port overnight (do not refrigerate).
  2. Stir in the mincemeat and set aside until needed.

To assemble

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F.
  2. Butter/spray the tart tins.
  3. Remove the pastry from the fridge. Divide into two, one piece slightly larger than the other. Wrap the smaller one in the cling film and pop it back in the fridge.
  4. Cut the larger half of the disc in half again. I find it easier to roll out a smaller piece of dough. Lightly flour the worktop and the rolling pin. Roll out the pastry, which will be solid to begin with but soon softens up as the butter warms up, a little thicker than usual and stamp out 12 x  8cm/3in rounds. Dip the cutter into the flour from time to time. Re-roll the trimmings to achieve the 12 rounds. Line the tart tin and pop into the fridge to chill. Repeat with the other half of the pastry and refrigerate while you get the tops ready.
  5. Remove the second half of the pastry dough from the fridge. Cut in half and roll out. Stamp out 12 x 5cm/2in rounds, again re-rolling the trimmings to achieve 12 rounds for the tops. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
  6. Optional – gather all the trimmings, re-roll and stamp out stars, christmas trees, hearts etc.
  7. Remove the tart tins from the fridge and fill with the mincemeat – do not overfill.
  8. Dipping a finger into the water, moisten one side of the rounds and place on top of the filled pies.  Press lightly to seal and make a small slit on top.
  9. Moisten one side of the star/heart/Christmas tree and place on top of each pie.
  10. Brush with a little milk and bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  11. The pastry is beautifully crumbly so it is best to let the mince pies cool for 10 minutes before easing them out of the tins (you may need to use a table knife to do this) and letting them cool on a wire rack.
  12. Dust with icing sugar and serve warm or cold.
© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


64 thoughts on “Orange Mince Pie Pastry

  1. How lovely to read about your childhood and your love of christmas. And what a gorgoeus photo!! I love the tree and the cape..all gorgoeus 😍 and the orange in the mince pies pastry sounds gorgoeus, what a great idea. It all looks wonderful, sweetheart, enjoy every second xxx


  2. Yay!! Thanks for sharing that photo, Selma! Lovely!! <3 I don't celebrate Christmas, but I really adore anything related to Christmas especially the lights, the colors, the feast… Happy FF and have fun! :)


  3. So true about the closely-guarded recipes! And if they give you one, it’s bound to be not the real one, otherwise your biscuits would taste as good as theirs ;-)
    I shared my cinnamon stars on the blog, no secrets here – perhaps they’re similar to the ones from your aunt?
    Have a wonderful Christmas!
    Ginger x


    • I am so glad you commented, because I was racking my brain trying to remember who had posted the recipe!! I am going to link to your post if that is ok. It’s funny how people guard their recipes but with the internet, you can find versions of the old traditional ones with a couple of clicks now! Wishing you a Merry Christmas too!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This wonderful recipe has my husband written all over it — the orange peel, the cranberry, the port . . . . and mincemeat. I am definitely making this. I also loved hearing your stories about Christmas and/or lack thereof over the years. Have a very happy holiday!!!


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  6. Ahh, very sweet Selma, love the picture. We did celebrate Christmas in Kenya, in fact it was just wonderful, going to Midnight Mass, bright new shoes, a new dress, and loads of sweets on the table, a fake tree with tinsel and just one gift. I don’t believe it was as materialistic as Christmas is nowadays. It’s great that you decided to indulge when you left home, and that Jake has his very own tree in his bedroom. Love, love, love mince pies, but have never made them myself. I somehow always indulge if I’m visiting my folks in England over Christmas. I absolutely love the idea of orange peel in your pastry… clever you! They look amazing, and I imagine the aroma wafting through the house would be heaven!!!
    Merry Christmas to you and your family in England, from us in the U S of A!! :). It’s been such a pleasure meeting you through blogging, and helping me out, we will definitely meet up when I next visit my folks in England.


    • Your childhood Christmas sounds lovely! It is much too commercial now, that is for sure. Loretta it has been a pleasure getting to know you and I so look forward to meeting you one day soon. All the very best wishes for a Merry Christmas from me and Jake to you and your family x


  7. You know that you live in a multi cultural society when people of all faiths adopt and adapt local festivities so that they can enjoy the same spirit of celebration and togetherness. Enjoy this Festive season Selma


    • Sandra, that is so true. I am so happy that things have moved on for most of society and that we can enjoy the various celebrations and traditions without recrimination. The next thing I am really looking forward to is Chinese New Year – the dragon dances and of course, the food!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m so glad you posted this Selma! I’ve been trying to decide what pastry to make for my Christmas day mince pies and I’d finally settled on just a short pastry. But now I definitely have to use this one, the addition of orange is so simple yet so genius!! As you can tell I’m very excited about this haha

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m adding lemon or orange zest sometimes, too, or vanilla and cinnamon is also great in pastry! I’ve never made myself mince pies, but I’ve tried them, they are really very tasty and festive!
    It’s such a nice and joyful time now, all bloggers posting Christmas recipes, that it’s hard to choose which one to try first! :D
    Have a lovely weekend and holidays, Selma!


  10. these little pies look and sound delicious. i love christmas too. it is such a cheering time of year isn’t it? food and friends and family- wonderful.. i don’t understand people keeping recipes secret; surely food is about sharing with your loved ones? i hope she ended up giving her recipes to you all.
    merry xmas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sherry – it really is my favourite time of year! My aunt did come and stay with us once, after we moved to Canada and I remember that mum asked her to show us how she made the cookies, which she did, but they didn’t taste the same as the ones she made in Nairobi!! Happy Christmas to you and your family!


  11. Good to hear about how much you enjoy Christmas – I love it for many of the same reasons. It is so festive and so much about family and friends. Michael Buble is a favorite – he had a special last week which I really enjoyed. Just love his voice! Happy Holidays to you and your family :)


  12. Selma there are so many things to love about this post….your story of course, the adorable photo of Jake in his cape….the mince pies are just beautiful dusted with the powdery sugar and that blue star plate I am coveting just a bit. A wonderful post from one of my favorite bloggers of all time. Happy Holidays to you and your family.


    • Teresa, thank you so much – you have no idea how much that means to me, coming from you. I am completely in awe of not only your cooking but also your incredible eye in styling and photography. Thanks for your support – have a wonderful Christmas and all the best for 2015 x


  13. What a lovely post Selma. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the whole thing. thanks for sharing about your childhood days. Just like you I love everything about christmas too – the lights, the gifts, the shopping and the cheer! Like you, I didn’t grow up celebrating it since we are hindus however I love celebrating it now with the kids and its the best time of the year for me!. Btw your recipe and pics of mince pies make me crave for it! I actually never knew the term ‘mince pies’ or mincemeat and this FF I think there are at least 3 different versions of mince pie. Now I definitely need to try them! Love the addition of citrus in the pastry dough.! thanks so much for bringing these cuties to Fiesta Friday! Merry Christmas to you! :)


    • I think that there are so many who may not observe the Christian aspect of Christmas but love the feeling of good cheer that is spread by the traditions of Christmas. I hope you get the chance to try a mince pie at some point – they are really delicious! Merry Christmas to you too!


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