bien cuit

Mince pie masterclass

cakes, festive | November 21, 2015 | By


Let’s face it, if you’re not a Brit, mincemeat is a bit baffling. I recall visiting the Marks & Spencer store on the Boulevard Haussmann in Paris quite a few years ago and seeing a young French couple perusing all the Christmas food items. They picked up a pack of mince pies and as they walked towards the counter I heard them say they’d be looking forward to having them with their aperitif before dinner that night.

Mincemeat has been around since the Crusaders returned bearing spices from their conquests. Recipes dating from the 15th century include dried fruits, chopped beef (including ox heart!) and venison, and sweet spices, like cloves, cinnamon, mace and nutmeg, bound with vinegar or wine and used as a filling for pies. Regional variations include finely chopped neat’s tongue – I’m not sure what a neat is, but be assured it is probably available at vast expense at the Grande Epicerie.

Nowadays the meat element has either been reduced to the presence of suet (beef or vegetarian) or omitted entirely. I prefer it without, and opt for a version with cooked apples, which reduces the chances of jars fermenting in your cupboard. Having had that experience, I can confirm it isn’t pretty.

I finally swapped over to suet-free mincemeat when we lived in France the first time around. I shall never forget the look on my poor butcher’s face when I asked if he had any suet – something seemingly unknown in France. Having done my vocabulary homework beforehand, I was able to explain it that I was hoping to buy some fat that encases the beef kidneys. “What for?”, he enquired. To add to dried mince fruit and spices to make a kind of special Christmas patisserie. Needless to say, he didn’t ask me to bring one in for him to sample – either with an aperitif or a tasse de thé.


Are you living in Paris and wondering where you can find festive gluten free baked goods?

Perhaps you are new to gluten free baking and would like to try a taster baking class out to find out more about my way of teaching.

Or maybe you have a gluten free visitor this Christmas and would like to offer them something traditional and homemade.

If one of these is the case then maybe my mince pie masterclass is for you!


What you’ll learn:

  • the different types of gluten free flours available and where to source them in France
  • how to substitute GF flours one for another in recipes
  • how to convert regular recipes to GF
  • what the different types of binders are and how they replace gluten in GF recipes
  • how to make a blend of GF flour that is 50% wholegrain and suitable for all your GF needs
  • how to make mincemeat without suet (usually palm oil) contained in most commercially available mincemeat
  • how to make additive-free butter pastry, suitable for quiches, tarts and pies


What the 25€ fee includes:

  • a hands on class for a max of 6 people lasting approx 2 hours, plus the recipes to take home
  • all the ingredients for each person to make their own dozen mince pies during class, ready to eat or freeze at home
  • a glass of wine, tea, coffee and some festive nibbles while we work


Dates available:

  • Mon 7th December 10am – 12 noon  (2 places remaining)
  • Fri 11th December 10am- 12 noon  (4 places remaining) 


How to book:

Please complete the form below, making sure to let me know which date you are interested in, and I’ll contact you to arrange deposit payment via Paypal/cheque to secure your place.

These classes will be taught in English, but if you are interested in a class in French then please let me know your preferred days and times via the contact form below: