Gluten-free mince pies with damson and cobnuts

Gluten-free needn’t mean fun-free this Christmas. Victoria Glass shows us how there’s no reason to miss out on any of the festive classics just because wheat’s off your menu.

First published in 2015

Washed down with a steaming mug of mulled wine, these light and crumbly damson and cobnut mince pies have Christmas all wrapped up.

If you’re catering for gluten dodgers over the holidays, you’ll be pleased to discover that these are simple and quick to make and just as tasty as their wheaty counterparts. My gluten-scoffing friend couldn’t tell the difference when she came over for three the other day.

Sweet gluten-free shortcrust is perfect for baking with children, as it has the added bonus of being impossible to overwork. However many times your little darlings scrunch up and re-roll this dough, you’ll never have to suffer another tough or chewy pie again – that’s a little extra Christmas present from me to you, right there.

I made my own damson and cobnut mincemeat last year and still have plenty left, but you’ll have a job finding damsons in December. Try swapping the damsons for plums and the cobnuts for hazelnuts, for delicious and more easily sourced alternatives. If making mincemeat’s not at the top of your festive agenda, by all means buy some in. Just remember, before serving it to any coeliac friends, to check the ingredients. Most mincemeat is made with suet, which has been stored dusted in wheat flour. My mincemeat is also suet-free, but you can buy gluten-free vegetarian suet if you want to adapt your own recipe.




Damson and cobnut mincemeat

Gluten-free sweet shortcrust

  • 300g of rice flour
  • 150g of unsalted butter
  • 100g of caster sugar
  • 1 orange, finely grated zest of
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • milk, splash of (if needed)


For the mincemeat, put the apple and sugar into a large pan and heat gently until the sugar has completely dissolved
Stir in the rest of the ingredients, minus the brandy. Slowly bring to the boil, stirring all the time. Lower the heat, partially cover the pan and simmer for 30 minutes
Remove from the heat and leave to become completely cold. Stir in the brandy and spoon into cold, sterilised jars. Cover with waxed discs and tight fitting lids
For the shortcrust, it’s easiest to blitz the flour, butter and sugar in a food processor until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs, before pulsing in the remaining ingredients. You want the dough to be soft but not sticky. If you’re doing it by hand, simply rub the flour and fat together before adding the sugar and forking through the egg before kneading it together gently to form a ball. Wrap the pastry in cling film and chill in the fridge for about 15 minutes
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4 and butter a 12 hole muffin tray
Roll out the pastry between two sheets of cling film - this is the best way I’ve found for rolling all shortcrust (including wheat), as it doesn’t require any extra flour and keeps the pastry from falling apart
Cut out rounds and line the tray. You can easily patch up any cracks or holes with extra pastry. Fill the pies with mincemeat and top with pastry lids lightly brushed with a little milk
Prick the tops with a fork and bake for 20 minutes. Leave to cool slightly before turning out
First published in 2015

Victoria is a London-based food writer and recipe developer. She was the Roald Dahl Museum’s first ever Gastronomic Writer in Residence and has written six books, including her latest, Too Good To Waste.

Get in touch

Please sign in or register to send a comment to Great British Chefs.

You may also like

Load more