Saturday, 5 December 2015

Happy Harper Christmas Guest Post: Perfect Mince Pies by Sophie Pembroke

Today it's my pleasure to welcome Sophie Pembroke to the blog as part of the Happy Harper Christmas event that myself and fellow bloggers are taking part in this December.

Every year, I have grand plans for Christmas baking. I pour over festive cookery books, sticking post it notes on all the recipes I want to try. And every year I end up just making my mum’s mince pies, because they’re better than every other Christmas recipe out there anyway. 

In fact, they’re so good, I even wrote them into a book. Several times over. 

In The Kiss Before Midnight, Molly’s Mum, Philippa, has gone a bit mince pie crazy. Molly, meanwhile, is being driven slowly by crazy by Jake, her brother’s best friend, who has been part of the family forever. But don’t worry, Molly has plans: 

Molly stared after Jake as he followed her mum inside.

“Now, you have to try my latest batch of mince pies. Can you believe, I have fifteen different sorts of mincemeat to try this year? You’ll have to keep track and tell me which one you like best,” Philippa said, as they disappeared into the hall and through the doorway on the left that led to the lounge.

Jake might be in the house, but he wasn’t home. Not really. He still doesn’t believe he belongs here. Which was pathologically stupid. 

He’d stood stiff and uncertain, even as Philippa had thrown her arms around him, welcoming him home. After all these years, shouldn’t he know better? Unless… unless this was her fault. Unless her lingerie and talking about kissing had made him awkward around her family. 

She could kind of understand that, she supposed. Even if it was still stupid.

Well. One thing she could do this week, possibly even while persuading him into bed with her, was make it clear that this was his home now, as much as it was hers. That’s how it worked. Like the half starved stray cats mum took in, Jake was theirs now. And nothing he could do would change that.

Not even sleeping with her. Probably. 

As long as they didn’t get caught.

So, if you want to read a festive tale of mince pies, fortune telling fish, inappropriate New Year's resolutions and true love, then pick up The Kiss Before Midnight. And if you’re looking for something sweet to enjoy while you’re reading, then I highly recommend my mum’s mince pies!


Here’s the recipe:


8 oz plain flour
6 oz cold butter, chopped into chunks
3 oz caster sugar
1 egg, separated
Cold water


  1. Preheat oven to 200°C
  2. Sieve the flour into a bowl
  3. Add the chopped up butter and rub it into the flour until it’s like breadcrumbs
  4. Add 2 oz of sugar and mix
  5. Add the egg yolk and water, then mix to form a dough
  6. Split the dough in two and roll out half to 1/5 inch thick. Cut your mice pie bases with a fluted cutter
  7. Fit the bases to greased cupcake tins, and fill with mincemeat (about a heaped teaspoon)
  8. Roll out the other half of dough and cut out lids. Dampen the edges, place on top of the pies and seal in place with your fingers
  9. Pierce the centre of each pie with sharp knife, brush the lids with beaten egg white and sprinkle them with the remaining sugar
  10. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes until golden and delicious!

The mince pies can be frozen for up to six months, and taste particularly good warm…