Try these ‘World Famous in New Zealand’ mini mince pies

  • SERVES: 6
  • PREP TIME: 15 mins
  • COOKING TIME: 30 mins
  • DIFFICULTY: easy
  • IDEAL FOR: family, crowds, snacks, picnics
  • BUDGET: £

Sweet or savoury?…THAT is the question.

You’re probably going to say, sweet, of course.

What the hell am I even thinking about savoury mince pies with Xmas just around the corner!

I can forgive you for saying that BUT…

I’m Kiwi.

And all good Kiwi’s know that in all small things comes greatness.

And this applies to the (savoury) mini mince pie as well (not just the All Blacks, America’s Cup, the Flat White (yes, that was us), Pavlova, Kiwifruit (I know, I know…) etc.

But before I blow your mind with this genius-mini-adventure-of-a-pie, let’s take a look back in time…

When your sweet Christmas mince pies were, in fact, savoury!

Golden mini mince pies straight from the oven

Whoa! I hear you cry, slow down there, Lou… don’t be putting you’re Kiwi ideas on us traditionalists.’

But you’d be wrong.

I’ve done the research

And it’s all thanks to Tim (hubby) and me, having a long and rather confusing (and probably needless) conversation in the kitchen about mince pies and their fillings.

Needless to say, it all lead to ‘google it then’… and then the confusion fog lifted.

And it turns out, we were both right.

Although, if pushed, I’d say I was ‘more’ right.

Meat to sweet: A history of the mince pie

So, just for a minute, put to the side the sweet Christmas treat we all know and love.

Which is packed with it’s citrussy dried fruit, soaked in brandy, flavoured with spices and wrapped in crumbly pastry. Yum

Leave that and now think medieval times.

Pie crusts we called coffins (they really knew how to be cheerful) and were just made from flour and water.

The coffins housed and cooked pre-boiled meat fillings.

And were usually thrown away once the meat filling was eaten.

Juicy and meaty; the Kiwi mini mince pie

The filling

Many medieval recipes combined sweet and savoury ingredients.

The mince pie gained its sweetness from honey or dried fruits along with spices such as saffron and ginger.

Other dried fruits such as figs and dates had to be imported so were a sign of wealth. As were spices and how liberally they were used in food.

A recipe by an aristocrat in 1609, Elinor Fettiplace’s recipe, showed fillings included equal parts of minced cooked mutton, beef suet, currants and raisins with ginger, mace, nutmeg, cinnamon, orange rind, salt and a tiny quantity of sugar.

Because all these ingredients could be expensive, the mince pie would be saved for feast days such as Easter or Christmas.

And finally, from savoury to sweet

No one knows exactly when meat was dropped from the recipe but Eliza Acton’s mincemeat recipe in ‘Modern Cookery for Private Families’ (1845) includes ox tongue and ‘Mrs Beeton’s Household Management’ (1861) originally gave two recipes for mincemeat, one with and one without meat.

So probably by the twentieth century the only trace of meat in the mince pie was suet.

World Famous in New Zealand

I don’t need to tell you how to make a large modern-day mince pie

But I will introduce to this little Kiwi snack that will delight you with its simplicity and moorishness.

Because, when I go home to New Zealand, I always eat:

  • Battered oysters / natural oysters
  • Battered mussels/natural mussels
  • Kiwi hamburger
  • Eggs Benedict
  • And… mini mine pies!

We all have memories wrapped up in the food we eat and those are mine… with another long list of sweets (or as Kiwi’s call them, lollies)

Every bakery, café, petrol station in New Zealand will have these little warm hand mini pies ready to be picked up and eaten on the go; no utensils required.

So, get stuck in and give these a go…

(btw, they are brilliant to freeze as well).

So, sweet or savoury??

Simple. BOTH.

Enjoy these savoury ones all year round though 🙂

Pile up a plate, get the T-sauce out and let everyone dig in… no utensils required.
Print Pin
5 from 3 votes

(Kiwi) Mince Pie

Course Snack
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • mini pie baking tray / muffin tray


  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 500 g beef mince
  • 2 diced onion
  • 2 tbsp (homemade) beef stock in 1/2 cup warm water or one bought stock cube mixed in 1/2 cup water once added to the fried beef in the fry pan do a taste test and add a little more water if need be
  • 1/2 red wine optional
  • salt and pepper to season
  • a little butter to grease the baking tray
  • 1 egg yolk to wash the pastry before baking


  • Pre-heat the oven to 180 C (400 F, Gas Mark 6)
  • In a frying pan on medium heat, add the oil and then the diced onion and cook until softened
  • Next add the beef mince and cook until brown (you may need to do in batches depending on the size of your frying pan)
  • Next add the stock (and wine) and let reduce down until sauce is thick
  • Set this mixture aside to cool

Pie case

  • Lightly grease the baking tray with butter
  • Make your pastry as per recipe or using the bought short-crust pastry, gently add the pastry liners to make the casings.
    *make sure you have enough for the mini pastry lids too!*
    Add the cooled mince mixture almost to the top of the pastry casing.
    Then cut out circular pastry lids to cover your mini mixtures, crimp the edges to seal and wash with egg yolk.
  • Place in the oven for 30 minutes until they are golden brown.
  • Devour! 🙂
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