These gluten free mince pies are the perfect Christmas treat – easy to make and incredibly delicious. The gluten free shortcrust pastry is buttery and perfectly melt-in-your-mouth crumbly (without being too crumbly!), and it beautifully complements the juicy, flavourful mincemeat filling. And you couldn’t possibly guess that they’re gluten free!
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Hi friends. Today, we’re talking about a gluten free twist on a Christmas classic – well, at least a classic here in the UK.
I know that mince pies might be largely unfamiliar in the US and elsewhere in the world (for example, they definitely weren’t a part of my Christmases when I was growing up in Slovenia), but they’re a wonderful holiday treat. After all, who doesn’t love the combination of buttery, perfectly crumbly pastry with juicy, spice-packed dried fruit filling?
Making gluten free mince pies isn’t complicated at all. The biggest “obstacle” is making sure that your pastry isn’t too crumbly (which can be a common complaint with gluten free pastry) – you definitely don’t want your mince pie to crumble the moment you pick it up.
But don’t worry: my recipe gives a gluten free shortcrust pastry that holds its shape beautifully while also being deliciously buttery with a melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Before we get to the bits and bobs of making these wonderful mince pies – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!
Note: the whole recipe, including the ingredient quantities, can be found at the bottom of this page – just scroll down to the bottom, or click the ‘Jump to Recipe’ button at the top of this post.
How do you make gluten free shortcrust pastry?
Making gluten free shortcrust pastry couldn’t be easier:
- In a bowl, whisk together the gluten free flour blend and xanthan gum.
- Add cubed cold unsalted butter and use your fingertips to rub it into the flour until you get a mixture that resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add icing sugar and, using a fork or a wooden spoon, mix it together until combined.
- Add the (cold) egg and mix it together until it starts coming together in a ball. (Using a cold eggs ensures that the butter and thus the pastry stays relatively cool, speeding up the chilling step which precedes the rolling out.)
- Give the dough a thorough knead until you get a smooth, slightly soft pastry that shouldn’t be sticky to the touch.
- Wrap the finished pastry in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
Unlike with wheat-based pastry recipes, here you don’t have to worry about overworking the dough. Because there’s no gluten to “develop” through kneading, there is no danger of the pastry becoming tough or leathery.
How do you prevent the gluten free pastry from being too crumbly?
While the absence of gluten represents a big advantage in allowing you to knead and handle the pastry as much as you want (which is immensely helpful when it comes to using up any scraps – you can re-roll them pretty much infinitely many times, so long as you don’t incorporate too much flour into the dough), it does also mean that your pastry could become too crumbly.
However, I have optimised my recipe to prevent a pastry that is too fragile or crumbly. There are two main factors that ensure that your baked gluten free shortcrust pastry is sturdy enough to hold the filling and to withstand any handling as you remove the mince pies out of the baking tin and serve them:
- Use whole eggs. Wheat-based shortcrust pastry recipes often use egg yolks only to give them a richer flavour and texture. However, using only egg yolks in a gluten free pastry would make it too crumbly. The egg whites act essentially as additional “glue”, reducing the crumbliness of the pastry.
- Add xanthan gum. You’re probably familiar with xanthan gum from my other gluten free recipes. It basically acts like a gluten substitute or replacement, giving gluten free bakes a small degree of elasticity and/or preventing them from being too crumbly. Don’t be tempted to omit or substitute xanthan gum in this recipe – if you do, you’ll be left with a crumbly mess.
How do you make gluten free mince pies?
Once your shortcrust pastry dough is chilled, it’s time to assemble the mince pies. Here’s how:
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry to a thickness of about 3-4mm.
- Use round cookie cutters to cut out circles of pastry of two different sizes: the larger circle will create the bottom and sides of the mince pies, and the smaller circle will be used as the lid. I like to use round cookie cutters with fluted edges, as it gives the mince pies a more interesting, textured appearance.
- Place the larger pastry circles into a lightly buttered mince pie baking tin, gently pressing on the pastry to make sure it’s snug against the bottom and sides. Buttering the tin is absolutely crucial, as it allows you to easily remove the baked mince pies, without too much sticking.
- Fill the pastry with mincemeat.
- Egg wash the edges of the pastry – this will help create a seal between the edges and the lid/top and thus prevent any filling from leaking out.
- Top the mince pies with the smaller pastry circles, gently pressing along the edges to properly seal the two pieces of pastry together. “Crimp” the edge by gently pressing on it with the tongs of a small fork (this further seals the pastry and also adds a nice decorative element).
- Egg wash the tops of the mince pies, sprinkle with granulated sugar and create a small slit in the middle of each mince pie (this allows any steam generated by the filling to escape).
- And then: bake until golden brown.
And that’s really all there is to it. Making gluten free mince pies is truly incredibly easy, and they make the most wonderful Christmas treats (while also making your kitchen smell all lovely and festive).
There’s something incredibly special about the contrasting textures of the buttery, perfectly crumbly pastry (just remember: not too crumbly!) and the soft, juicy mincemeat filling. And don’t even get me started on the taste! All I have to say on that front is this: I’ve already made at least 4 batches of these beauties in the last few weeks, and I’m already planning the next one.
I really hope you’ll love these as much as I do.
If you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!
Gluten Free Mince Pies
For gluten free shortcrust pastry:
- 225 g (1 ¾ cups + 2 tbsp) plain gluten free flour blend (I used Doves Farm Freee plain gluten free flour blend, which doesn't contain added xanthan gum. You can also mix your own blend with 50% finely ground white rice flour, 30% potato starch and 20% maize flour by weight.)
- ½ tsp xanthan gum (Omit if your gluten free flour blend already contains xanthan gum.)
- 100 g (¾ stick + 1 tbsp) cold unsalted butter, cubed (Plus extra for buttering the baking tin.)
- 70 g (½ cup + 1 tbsp) powdered/icing sugar
- 1 UK medium/US large egg
You will also need:
- ~350 g (12 heaped tbsp) mincemeat
- 1 UK medium/US large egg, whisked (for egg wash)
- 1-2 tbsp granulated sugar (for sprinkling)
For gluten free shortcrust pastry:
- In a bowl, whisk together the gluten free flour blend and xanthan gum.
- Add the cold butter and use your fingertips to rub it into the flour until you get a mixture that resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add the powdered/icing sugar and, using a fork or a wooden spoon, mix it together until combined.
- Add the egg and mix everything together until it starts coming together in a ball. Tip: I recommend using a cold egg, as that ensures that the butter and thus the pastry stays relatively cool, speeding up the chilling step.
- Give the pastry a thorough knead until you get a smooth, slightly soft dough that shouldn’t be sticky to the touch. Wrap the finished pastry in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
Assembling the mince pies:
- Adjust the oven rack to the middle position, pre-heat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and lightly butter a mince pie baking tin. Tip: This is the baking tin I used. It makes relatively short/squat mince pies, which I prefer in terms of the ratio of filling to pastry. The baking tin holes have the following dimensions: 6cm (2⅓ inch) width at the top, 1.7cm (⅔ inch) depth. If you want to use a muffin tin, you will either need to make a smaller number of mince pies or scale up the pastry recipe and use a larger amount of mincemeat. Buttering the tin is absolutely crucial, as it allows you to easily remove the baked mince pies, without too much sticking.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the chilled shortcrust pastry until approximately 3-4mm thin.
- Use a larger 7cm (2¾ inch) and a smaller 6cm (2⅓ inch) round cookie cutter to cut out 12 larger and 12 smaller pastry circles. Re-roll the scraps as needed.Tip: I like to use round cookie cutters with fluted edges, as they make the mince pies even prettier.
- Place the larger pastry circles into the lightly buttered mince pie baking tin, gently pressing on the pastry to make sure it’s snug against the bottom and sides of the tin.
- Fill the pastry with mincemeat, using about 28g or 1 heaped tablespoon of mincemeat per mince pie. You want to fill each pastry shell almost completely, leaving enough space for the pastry lid.
- Egg wash the edges of the pastry – this will help create a seal between the edges and the pastry lid and thus prevent any filling from leaking out.
- Top the mince pies with the smaller pastry circles, gently pressing along the edges to properly seal the two pieces of pastry together. “Crimp” the edge by gently pressing on it with the tongs of a small fork.
- Egg wash the tops of the mince pies, sprinkle with granulated sugar, and create a small slit in the middle of each mince pie (this allows any steam generated by the filling to escape).
- Bake at 350ºF (180ºC) for about 25 minutes or until light golden on top and a slightly deeper golden brown colour around the edges.
- Allow to cool completely in the baking tin before removing from them out of the tin.Tip: If the egg wash has caused them to stick slightly around the top, use a toothpick to loosen them from the baking tin. Otherwise, they should be easily removed from the tin without any sticking.
Storage & serving:
- The mince pies keep well in a closed container in a cool dry place for about 1 week.
- You can dust them with a bit of powdered/icing sugar before serving, although I like to enjoy them as they are, since they are sweet enough without it.