Tag Archives: Mincemeat

Mince Pie Chelsea Buns

I’m going to commit the cardinal sin of food blogging here and admit that in the case of some food items, there are existing recipes that simply cannot be beaten.  All you would do is alter them, but you would be very unlikely to improve them.  But, thankfully, they often can be adapted.  Whether it’s that perfect chocolate sponge which can be filled and iced differently or flavoured with a hint of orange or a drizzle of brandy, or a beautifully buttery shortbread which can be made in a number of shapes and thicknesses, or iced and filled with jam, there is always some leeway for evolution.

This recipe is one of those adaptations, and a fantastic way to use up Christmas leftovers.  As you may know, I make my own mincemeat and mince pies every year, but more often than not I make far too much, and with little need for yet more dried fruit in the leaner months of self-restraint it can often end up in the bin.  This is a brilliant recipe for using up that leftover mincemeat, although it would of course work with jarred mincemeat, or even a little crumbled up Christmas pudding.

The buns are pure Paul Hollywood (although I’m always fairly certain these people get a bit of a helping hand with their classic recipes) but it is a ruddy good Chelsea bun mix and it’s also really straightforward, but the filling and zesty orange icing are all mine, so I’m fairly sure I’ve added enough value to make these buns worthy of inclusion in our blog.

As you may have gathered, we’ve had a bit of a busy month, first trotting around Basel and going to my work Christmas party in the Cotswolds, and then working really hard to get finished up with work for the Christmas break and getting the house and fridge ready for a big family Christmas.  But don’t think we haven’t been working on recipes – they just haven’t quite made it here!

Mince Pie Chelsea Buns

Mince Pie Chelsea Buns


  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 7g (1 sachet) fast acting dried yeast
  • 300ml milk
  • 40g butter
  • 1 egg
  • 25g butter
  • 75g soft brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 5-6 tbsp mincemeat
  • 1 tbsp apricot jam
  • 200g icing sugar
  • zest and juice of one orange


  1. Mix together the flour and salt, then add the yeast and mix well.
  2. Meanwhile, pour the milk into a small saucepan and add the butter. Put over a low heat and warm until the butter has melted.
  3. Mix the warm milk and butter into the flour mixture, then add the egg.
  4. Put the bowl into your mixer with the dough hook installed, and allow it to knead away for about 20 minutes. If you don't have a mixer, lightly flour the board and knead the dough by hand for around 20 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
  5. Place in a bowl and cover then leave to rise for at least an hour (or several if you live somewhere cold) until the dough has at least doubled in size.
  6. Roll the dough out into a large, even rectangle. Melt the 25g butter and spread over the dough using a pastry brush. Sprinkle with the sugar and cinnamon and then the mincemeat.
  7. Roll the longest side over and over towards you, as tightly as you can, like a swiss roll. Once you have your long roll, slice into 9 even pieces.
  8. Butter a square or round tin and lay the pieces into it, one cut side down, one cut side up. Cover again with cling film and leave for a second prove for around an hour.
  9. Preheat the oven to 200c and pop the buns in for around 25 minutes or until golden and baked through. If they're getting too brown, cover with tin foil for the last 5 to 10 minutes.
  10. Once removed from the oven, spread the tops with apricot jam and allow to cool.
  11. Zest the orange into the icing sugar and then add the juice from the orange. Mix together to form the icing. If you think it's a little thick for your liking, add a little water. Drizzle over the buns and allow to set. Or dig in. They will rise up and bake together, meaning you have the joy of pulling apart these sweet sticky buns before digging in. You might wish to have a napkin handy...
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Homemade Mincemeat 

I thought I hated mince pies. Really and truly couldn’t stand them. They were just a bit too soft, a bit too stodgy, a bit too bland and then there were the crunchy bits. Urgh. 

Before I swore off them for good, however, I thought I ought to have a stab at making my own mincemeat. And it is night and day. Night and ruddy day. This recipe has no nuts (so no suspicious crunchy bits), heaps of juicy fruits (you do yours) and lashings of booze. It sounds like a jolly good Christmas to me! 

You may wish to include: 

500g seedless raisins 

500g sultanas 

200g dried cranberries 

1 tub French glacé cherries  

3/4 bag dried apricots 

2 oranges 

2 tbsp soft brown sugar 

3 tsp mixed spice

3 tsp cinnamon 

75ml apple juice 

50ml dark rum

50 ml brandy (or as much as you dare!)

Don’t stick too rigidly to the fruit weights; just use whichever size of bag they come in, or whatever’s lying around in your cupboard. And you can add your favourite dried fruits, miss things out and replace others – this is just how I like it!

1. Finely chop the cherries drop them into a large bowl. This is a sticky job which requires much patience! I really think they make the difference though in creating a really luscious filling for your pies. 
  2. Add in the raisins and cranberries…. 

3. Finely chop and throw in the apricots…

4. And then the sultanas. 
   5. Finely grate in the zest of the two oranges using a microplane, or the finest teeth on your grater.   

 6. Add in the sugar and spices then mix well. Add the juice from the oranges, half the apple juice and the booze, then give everything a really good stir. 

7.  Cover with cling film and leave everything to soak up for a day. Mix again the next day, adding more apple juice (and brandy) once the first lot has been largely soaked up. Repeat for the next 2 days and then allow to sit for another couple of days, stirring daily. In terms of total liquid, there should be a few inches in the bottom to give you a nice gooey caramel around your fruit when you make your pies. 

Pie recipe to follow after the weekend!

This will change Christmas forever!