A British Christmas tradition that's very popular in Canada, too, mincemeat tarts are a mainstay in many households at this time of year. If you have British ancestry, you're probably familiar with them - and made with from-scratch mincemeat and a basic sweet shortcrust pastry, they're the perfect holiday treat.
With a filling of sweet, warming mincemeat, made with homemade candied peel, dried fruit, and brandy, it's just right on a cold winter evening. This version is vegetarian, made with butter instead of suet (or vegan if you'd like).
These are, of course, a bit more time consuming than store bought mincemeat and pastry shells, but it's very well worth it. Take the time to make your own candied peel, mincemeat, and pie dough - if you think you don't like mince tarts, 100% homemade might change your mind.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Pastry: you can use store-bought shortcrust pastry if preferred. We've included the method in the recipe card below, but suggest reading through the full post if it's your first time making pastry.
- Mincemeat: canned or pre-made mincemeat can of course be substituted for homemade.
- Make it plant-based: to make the tarts vegan, use our vegan pie crust and go for the vegan option (using vegan butter) in the mincemeat.
Step 1: make the pastry and chill ahead of time. Roll out the pastry and cut circles of dough. Cut tops for the tarts too, or small shapes for decoration.
Step 2: place the larger rounds into the muffin cups, pressing gently to make sure they're touching the bottoms of the cups.
Step 3: fill each shell with about 2 tablespoons of mincemeat.
Step 4: top each tart with a smaller round or shape cut from the pastry.
Step 5: brush the pastry tops with an egg wash.
Step 6: bake the tarts in the middle rack of the oven.
Step 7: they should be golden and slightly puffy looking when ready.
Step 8: cool the tarts fully before dusting with icing sugar and serving.
- Add an egg wash: the egg wash isn't mandatory if you're going with the vegan option, but it adds a nice shiny golden element that's very festive and pretty. We recommend it.
- Use two tins: this makes 15 tarts, so if you have two muffin tins, make use of them.
- Make it with chocolate: add some dark chocolate to the centre of each tart for a bit of a twist – it pairs well with the mincemeat flavours.
If you're covering every tart fully in pastry and not cutting shapes, make sure to poke some holes in the tops with a fork in any case. The steam needs to escape during baking to avoid a soggy bottom - this way you get a nice crisp crust all around.
How to Store
Storage: keep cooled mince tarts in a sealed container at room temperature for 2-3 days, or refrigerate a bit longer. For any longer storage, we recommend freezing.
Freezing: these freeze really well, and can be made up to three months in advance. Just freeze in airtight containers after the tarts have cooled fully and take them out as needed.
What are mincemeat tarts made of?
Mincemeat tarts feature a pastry crust and filling of dried fruit, candied peel, and brandy (mincemeat). Some more traditional recipes will include beef or mutton in the mince.
What was the meat in mincemeat pie?
In historical recipes, the meat most often used is beef or lamb/mutton. Some recipes do call for other types of meat but those are most common.
Why do people eat mincemeat pie at Christmas?
While there's no real clear reason why it's a specific Christmas meal historically, it's probably simply due to saving special foods for the holiday season, and its history dates back to the 13th century.
If you make this Mincemeat Tart recipe or any other Christmas recipes on the Baked Collective, please take a moment to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It’s such a help to others who want to try the recipe. For more baking, follow along on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.
- 12-cup muffin tin
- Rolling Pin
- 2 ¾ inch or 7 cm cookie cutters
- pastry brush
- Make the shortcrust pastry according to instructions and chill before starting on the tarts.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and set out a 12-cup muffin tin, plus a second tin if you have one.
- Divide the finished dough in half, then roll it out on a lightly floured surface to 3-4mm (⅛ inch).
- Cut circles of dough slightly larger than your muffin cups in diameter (about 9 cm or 3.5 inches is good). Set aside. Using a slightly smaller cutter (7 cm or 2 ¾ inches) cut tops for the tarts. You can also cut out small shapes (stars, hearts, etc.).
- Place the larger rounds into the muffin cups, pressing gently to make sure they’re touching the bottoms of the cups. Fill each tart about ¾ full with mincemeat (about 2 tablespoons each).
- Top each tart with a smaller round or shape cut from the pastry. If using a full round, dampen the edges of the lid with a touch of water to help it adhere to the base.
- Use a fork to poke holes in the tops of any full pastry lids that don’t have shapes cut out.
- Beat the egg with a teaspoon of water and use a pastry brush to brush the tops of each tart with egg wash.
- Bake the tarts for 20-22 minutes, or until golden. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before carefully removing and cooling fully. Dust with icing sugar when cooled.