Accomplished cook and author of Perfect Parties, Janet Kohler loves gathering her family around on Christmas Day. Get her full menu in our December 2015 issue


For the fruit mince

  • 150g raisins
  • 150g golden sultanas
  • 100g currants
  • 2 medium apples, unpeeled and coarsely grated
  • 60g flaked almonds
  • 60g soft brown sugar
  • 3ml mixed spice
  • 3ml ground ginger
  • Grated rind and juice of 1 orange
  • Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
  • 50g butter, melted
  • 60ml brandy
  • 100g good quality dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces (optional)

To make the chocolate pastry

  • 250g butter
  • 320g flour
  • 4T cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 115g icing sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1T iced water
  • A little milk for sealing pastry
  • Egg wash (1 egg lightly whisked with 15ml water)
  • Icing sugar for dusting


To make the fruit mince

  1. Place all the ingredients except for the chocolate in a large mixing bowl and combine well. Spoon the mixture into sterilised jars and store in the fridge.
  2. Allow a couple of days for the flavour of the fruit mince to properly develop before using it.

It is preferable to add the chocolate just before placing the fruit mince in the pastry cases, although if you intend to use the fruit mince within a day or so, you could add the chocolate with the other ingredients.

To make the pastry

  1. Place the butter, flour and cocoa into a food processor and process until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  2. Add the sugar and the egg yolks and pulse the mixture until the dough just comes together, adding the water if necessary. Don’t overdo the amount of liquid.
  3. Form the dough in a ball and wrap it with cling film. Rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

To assemble the chocolate mince pies

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Grease 2 x 12-cup muffin trays with a little flavourless oil.
  2. Roll out the dough to about 2mm thick, then cut out rounds to fit the muffin trays. This is a delicate but delicious pastry and sometimes it is easier to make these in mini muffin trays and make the pastry slightly thicker.
  3. Spoon in a heaped teaspoonful of the fruit mince. Cut out ‘lids’ for the mince pies (rounds or star shapes) from the dough. Seal the edges of the lids with a little milk. Brush with egg wash and bake for about 20 minutes until golden-brown.
  4. Remove the mince pies from the oven and allow to cool in the tray for a few minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

Cook’s Tip: Storing the mince pies

Once baked, the mince pies will keep for about 3 days in an airtight container. You can make them ahead of time and freeze them unbaked for about a month (this is the best option). When you’re ready to serve them, simply pop the pies in the oven, allowing an extra 5–10 minutes because you’re baking them from frozen. If you need to use the muffin tray for something else, remove the frozen mince pies and store them in a resealable bag. To bake, return them to a greased tray, remembering to allow for extra baking time. You can also freeze any leftover mince pies after you’ve baked a batch. When you’re ready to serve them, in this case defrost the pies before putting them in the oven.

(This recipe makes about 24 mince pies)