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Christmas Cooking Tips from the Skibo Chefs Part Three: Ray’s Magical Mince Pies

Posted: 9 December 2019

Mince pies are a quintisentially British seasonal favourite, though further afield they can confound expectations as – despite the name – they do not contain mince. Rather than meat, these they contain mincemeat, a sweet and sticky confection of dried fruits and spices encased in pastry. In this, the second part of our December-long series of Christmas cooking tips from the Skibo chefs, the club’s Head Pastry Chef Ray Breau will reveal his personal recipe for magical mince pies.

Ray worked as a baker from the age of 18 before joining The Carnegie Club in 2004, and for the past 15 years he has been responsible for the desserts, breads, scones and pastries enjoyed daily by the club’s members.

Ray Breau, Head Pastry Chef at The Carnegie Club

Ray Breau, Head Pastry Chef at The Carnegie Club

“There’s a huge difference between homemade mince pies and shop-bought ones,” says Ray. “Making the mincemeat 3-4 months advance will make a huge difference as it allows the flavours of the mincemeat to maturate, but even if you make the mincemeat the day before you will still get a really flavoursome result.”

Ray recommends using a premium brandy in your mincemeat (and isn’t averse to you adding an extra slosh or two should you prefer your mince pies a touch on the boozy side!). Asked how he enjoys his mince pies, Ray says its with feet up watching Only Fools and Horses reruns and with a glass of mulled wine in hand…


Makes 36 mince pies (you can half the recipe if you want fewer pies!)



225g Bramley apples
25g flaked almonds
3 level tsp mixed spice
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp ground ginger
115g vegetable suet
280g raisins
125g currants
115 candied peeled
175g dark brown sugar
grated zest and juice 1½  oranges
grated zest and juice 1½  lemons
45ml good quality brandy


  1. Wash and dry the apples and dice finely.
  2. Combine all the ingredients apart from the brandy in a large bowl and stir until evenly mixed.
  3. Cover the bowl and leave the mixture in a cool place to maturate for around 12 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 110°C / 225°F
  5. Place the mincemeat in an ovenproof dish, cover with foil and bake for 3 hours.
  6. Lift the dish out of the over and stir occasionally as it cools.
  7. Once cold, add the brandy and mix well.



540g plain flour
200g icing sugar
100g ground almonds
300g cold unsalted butter
½ vanilla pod, seeded
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks


  1. In a bowl mix the flour, icing sugar, ground almonds, vanilla and butter until the mixture has the consistency of a fine crumb.
  2. Pour in the eggs, then mix until it forms a dough.  
  3. Remove the dough, wrap in cling film and store in the fridge overnight.



Mincemeat (recipe above)
Sweet pastry (recipe above)
Butter (for greasing)
Caster sugar


  1. On a lightly floured surface roll the pastry out to around 1cm thickness.
  2. You will need 2 round pastry cutters, one slightly larger than the other.
  3. Lightly grease a muffin tray with butter. (If you are making the full recipe, you will need three!)
  4. Cut out eqaul rounds of pastry using the larger and smaller pastry cutter.
  5. Place the larger rounds of pastry in the muffin tray.
  6. Spoon a tablespoon of mincemeat into the centre of each piece of dough.
  7. Place the smaller round of pastry on top, and gently press together the two pieces of dough to seal.
  8. Place the tin on a preheated fan-assisted over at 165°C / 325°F and bake for 12 – 14 minutes.
  9. Remove the tin from the oven and sprinkle sugar on the lid of each pie.
  10. Leave to cool for 15 minutes before removing the pies from the muffin tin.
  11. Serve with Chantilly cream for an extra dose of festive indulgence!

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Christmas Cooking Tips from the Skibo Chefs Part Two: Finn’s Festive Cranberry Sauce

In the second part of our month-long series of Christmas cooking tips from the Skibo chefs, Finn MacLeod reveals the recipe for his festive cranberry sauce.

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