Chef Kathryn Cuthbertson has given royal fans an inside look on the Christmas treats enjoyed by the Queen and other royals by releasing the recipes for mince pies and ginger bread biscuits.
Kathryn has also revealed that two versions of the mince pie are made for the Queen to enjoy. One pie is made the traditional way with puff pastry while the other is slightly smaller and topped with flaked almonds brushed with egg whites and icing sugar as a way to "add a bit of texture".
The small team of chefs and cooks in the Buckingham Palace kitchen handmake everything from the pastry to the mincemeat. To prepare, the mincemeat is made months in advance and stored in the kitchen pantry.
Zest and some juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
Zest and some juice of 1 unwaxed orange
2 tablespoons brandy
1 tablespoon of port
1 tablespoon of rum
1 tablespoon of sherry
120g (1 cup) suet
160g (3/4 cup) golden sultanas
100g (1/2 cup) raisins
100g (1/2 cup) mixed peel
100g (1/2 cup) currants
1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1.2 teaspoon ground cloves
160 (6oz) russet apples, peeled and grated
500g (1lb 2 oz) sweet pastry
Egg washed for sticking lids on the bases
Granulated sugar for the top of the mince pies before baking
Icing sugar for dusting
- Place all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and stir. Then add all the liquid and grated apple and allow to soak for at least one week in a 1kg kilner jar sat in the fridge or pantry.
- Preheat the oven to 190° C (375° F, gas mark 5)
- Roll the sweet pastry into a sheet approximately 2 to 3 mm thick, place on a tray, and allow to rest in the fridge. Once rested, cut tops and bottoms for your mince pies using fluted or plain cutters (selecting sizes to fit your tin). Place the pie bases into the tin and prick them with a small knife or fork to prevent the pastry from rising during the baking.
- Spoon a teaspoon of the home-made mincemeat into the base and egg wash the edge of the pastry to enable the lids to stick. Place the mince pies in the fridge to rest for another 30 minutes, then add a pastry top to each, egg washing it and pricking a small hole in the top to allow the steam to escape. Sprinkle with granulated sugar.
- Place the baking tray on the middle shelf of the preheated oven and bake the pies for about 15 minutes, or until the pastry turns golden and the mincemeat starts to boil slightly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before taking the pies out of their tin.
- Sprinkle the mince pies with icing sugar and serve immediately. To add a festive feel, the mince pie tops could be shaped with a star cutter or perhaps a holly-shaped cutter.
This recipe and others are included in the Royal Collection Trust's cookbook, Royal Teas: Seasonal Recipes from Buckingham Palace.