Mrs Beetons ordinary mince pies

The classic recipe from Mrs Beetons original Household Management
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Victorian British


  • bowl
  • wooden spoon
  • muffin tin
  • rolling pin
  • knife
  • table spoon
  • chopping board


  • 2 lbs raisins
  • 3 lbs currants
  • 1 ½ lbs lean beef
  • 2 oz citron
  • 2 oz candied lemon peel
  • 2 oz candied orange peel
  • rind of 2 lemons
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ pint brandy
  • 1 nutmeg
  • Puff pastry (shop bought or home made), or filo pastry or sweet crust pastry.
  • Butter
  • icing sugar to decorate
  • suet


  • Stone and cut the raisins once or twice across, but do not chop them; wash, dry, and pick the currants free from stalks and grit. Set aside
  • mince the beef and suet, taking care that the latter is chopped very fine. Set aside.
  • slice the citron and candied peel
  • grate the nutmeg
  • pare, core, and mince the apples
  • mince the lemon-peel, strain the juice
  • when all the ingredients are thus prepared, mix them well together, adding the brandy when the other things are well blended
  • press the whole into a jar, carefully exclude the air, and the mincemeat will be ready for use in a fortnight. (I'd recommend that you store it in a refrigerator for no more than 5 days as it has meat in it, or you properly seal it in a sterilised preserve jar).
  • Roll out the pastry to desired thickeness, allowign for it to expand during cooking.
  • Cut circles from the pastry.
  • Grease the muffin trays, then insert the circles, being sure to make sure the sides come to the top of the muffin holes.
  • Find willing street urchin to fill the muffin holes with your mince meat. Have them stoke the coals of the oven.
  • Put a layer of pastry on top of the mince pies.
  • Place in the oven and have the urchin watch them to ensure they are not over cooked.
  • After 30 mins remove from the oven and show them to the urchin.
  • Cool and serve with sprinkled icing sugar.


The key to Mrs Beetons ordinary mince pies is the home made mince meat including the beef. You can get fresh beef suet at the butchers, or shop bought pre-packed. She would have made her own pastry of course, and cook would doubtless siphon off a little more brandy than was strictly needed. What sets this recipe apart from modern mince pies is the use of beef.
Be careful with the storage as this recipe contains raw meat; you probably want to be a bit more careful with it than the Victorians were!
If you marinate it over night in the fridge and cook the next day then it is fine. If you want it to last longer, keep in fridge overnight. The next day sterilise one or two air tight preserving jars. Preheat the oven to 110°C. Wash the jars and lids well in hot clean water and place on a baking tray (do not put any plastic or rubber seals in the oven). Put the jars and lids in the hot oven for 10 minutes. After leaving the jars to cool, divide the mincemeat between the jars, seal and label. You can store the mincemeat in a sterilised jar in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Or try her Extraordinary Mince Pies that don't contain meat.
Keyword Christmas, Mince Pies, Traditional, Victorian