IT’S CHRISTMAS ! Rod’s Almond Pear Mince and Salted Caramel Christmas Pies.

IT’S CHRISTMAS ! Rod’s Almond Pear Mince and Salted Caramel Christmas Pies.


We are delighted to welcome New Zealand-born Rod McCormick, Executive Chef and co-founder of McBaile Exclusive Catering & Event Services with his (now) wife Laura to the blog today. Rod has added his modern twist to the humble mince-pie. Rod says :“I’m a great admirer of people like Heston Blumenthal and Gordon Ramsay, who – aside from their screen personas – are real pros. I learned from the guys who taught and mentored me (Luke Mangan and Geoff Scott – both well-known Southern Hemisphere chefs) that a good chef has to combine an artistic, creative nature with unwavering professionalism and attention to detail.”

The mince-pie’s ingredients are traceable to the 13th century, when returning European crusaders brought with them Middle Eastern recipes containing meats, fruits and spices. The tradition of eating Christmas pie in December continued through to the Victorian era, although by then its recipe had become sweeter and its size reduced markedly from the large oblong shape once observed. Today the mince pie remains a popular seasonal treat enjoyed by many across the United Kingdom.


For the mincemeat

  •  500g chopped pears
  • 250g chopped apple
  • 125g dried cranberries
  • 250g sultanas
  • 125g chopped almonds
  • Chopped rind and juice of half an orange
  • ½ tsp grated nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 250ml brandy

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and allow to steep overnight.  Place into a saucepan and bring up to a simmer, until most of the liquid has been evaporated and remove from the heat. Leave to cool completely.

For the caramel

  • 250g sugar
  • 125g butter
  • 75ml cream
  • Pinch of sea salt

Place butter and sugar into a heavy bottomed saucepan on medium heat. Stir occasionally until the sugar is melted and then leave to simmer until the mixture turns a warm golden colour and a drop put into a glass of cold water forms immediately into a firm ball. Remove from the heat and slowly pour in the cream while beating with a spoon.

For the shortcrust pastry

  • 340g plain flour
  • 200g cold unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 large free-range egg yolk2

Sift flour and a pinch of salt into a bowl. Rub in butter until you have a crumble-like mixture. Stir in caster sugar, then add egg yolk and mix quickly with a palette knife. Add 1-2 tbsp cold water, a little at a time, mixing with the knife until the mixture is drawn together into a dough. Press into a ball, then wrap in cling film and chill for at least 10 minutes before using.Roll out into a large sheet approx. 3mm thick and cut out round to fit into the bottom of a mini muffin mould or other suitable mould. Put a dollop of cooled caramel into the bottom of each pie case and top up with pear mince mixture, cover with a sheet of pastry cut to size and crimp around the edge to create a good seal. Brush with beaten egg to glaze. Place in a preheated oven at 170 degrees and bake for 15-20mins. Check they are done by removing and inspecting the bottom, it should be golden and crisp.Remove from baking tins and allow to cool on a wire rack. To serve, dust with icing sugar.


Makes 24

Recipe idea conceived by Rod McCormick, Executive Chef, McBaile Exclusive Catering & Event Services.



  1. This looks and sounds absolutely divinve. I will have to try this over vacation! Thanks so for sharing this.
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  2. I could eat a plate of them now!
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