There’s nothing nicer than mince pies straight from the oven. Try this recipe from restaurant owner Mariana Esterhuizen’s new book Mariana’s Country Kitchen: Food Through the Seasons (Human & Rousseau), R350, which is filled with recipes using fresh seasonal ingredients from her garden


  • 200g sultanas
  • 125g raisins
  • 175g mixed citrus peel
  • 100g currants
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • finely grated zest of 2 oranges
  • 3 large cored and coarsely
  • grated Granny Smith apples
  • 1t ground cinnamon
  • ¼t ground cloves
  • ½t ground nutmeg
  • 170ml brandy
  • 80g treacle sugar
  • 150g butter, melted
  • 600g shortcrust pastry


  1. Chop the sultanas and raisins to the size of the currants or, if you are in a hurry or are doubling the recipe, use the mincer attachment of a food processor to process them.
  2. Place the chopped dried fruit, mixed citrus peel and currants in a bowl that is large enough to hold all the ingredients. Add the lemon and orange zest and the grated apple. Sprinkle the spices over the fruit and stir.
  3. Add 100 ml of the brandy and the sugar, and stir.
  4. Add the melted butter, stir well and cover the mixture. Leave to stand overnight in a cool place and stir in the rest of the brandy the next day.
  5. Store in a non-metal container with a tight-fitting lid or in sterilised jars.

To make the pies:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 °C.
  2. Roll out the shortcrust pastry thinly and cut out rounds with a cookie cutter.
  3. Line the greased cups of a tartlet pan with the pastry rounds.
  4. Place 1T of the mince pie mixture in each cup and decorate the top with pastry shapes.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn the oven down to 160 °C and bake for a further 10 minutes.

This recipe makes 60 small pies