Festive Baking from the Pixton Kitchen

December is the best time of year for indulging in dessert, chef Barbara shares her favourite festive recipes

The humble mince pie is considered an essential accompaniment to festive dinners.  However, mincemeat originally developed as a way of preserving meat without salting or smoking.

Whilst today, we are accustomed to eating mince pie as a dessert, but actually ‘minced’ pie began as a main course dish with more meat than fruit (a mixture of meat, dried fruits, and spices).  As fruits and spices became more plentiful in the 17th century, the spiciness of the pies increased accordingly.


How to make your own mincemeat - here chef Barbara shares her recipe for making your own delicious sweet pie filling.




  • 600gr raisons
  • 100ml apple juice
  • Juice of 2 lemons,
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 250gr dark brown sugar,
  • 1 large Bramley apple, sliced and grated
  • 1 cup mixed peel from lemon, orange, clementine,
  • Half a teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 200gr toasted and crushed walnuts

Soak the raisins with the lemon juice and the apple juice for a few hours, or overnight. Next, toast the citrus peel in a pan on a low temperature with a drop of coconut oil. Mix all the ingredients together (except for the walnuts) and put into jars and store in the fridge for a few days before adding the walnuts prior to using.


As the filling is vegetarian & vegan you can choose your favourite pastry (it can be normal, puff pastry, vegan, gluten free and so on) to make the pies.




Gingerbread biscuits are another firm favourite, and these are so simple they’re ideal for children to make, especially as you can make them in different shapes and decorate!



  • 175gr dark sugar
  • 85gr golden syrup
  • 100gr butter
  • 2 Tbs fresh grated ginger
  • 1 egg
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 450gr flour

In a saucepan combine the sugar, syrup and butter, with a pinch of salt, and gently heat on a low temperature for a few minutes. Once melted and mixed together, remove from the heat and add the remaining ingredients. Mix together to form a dough and then chill for at least 1 hour.


Flour your work surface and then roll out the dough to approx. 1/3 of an inch thick and ten cut pout your shapes. Place on a greased baking tray and bake in the oven at 170C/gas mark 3 for 10 minutes. Once golden brown remove, cool for ten minutes then decorate.


This recipe is vegetarian but by swapping the butter for vegetable spread, and the flour for a gluten free one, you can have a vegan & gluten free version.

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