Are mince pies illegal?

It has been claimed that the act of eating a mince pie on Christmas Day is illegal in England.

I grew up in St Ives, Cambridgeshire; in the centre of the town is a statue of Oliver Cromwell and the local pub is also named after him.


History books tell us that in the 1640s his Parliamentarians banned the celebration of Christmas and other feast days, and the gluttony that went with it.

But the ban did not survive when Charles II became king.

Long live the king mince pie!

I love these little pies.  I’m not a huge fan of the really deep fill ones that you can get in the supermarket posh ranges, and as they are so simple, I would much rather grab the kids and have a fun morning baking them than buy them.

My favourites have a really rich buttery pastry case, a nice spoonful of mix and either a star shape on the top or a sprinkling of streusel mix on the top.

375g plain flour
260g unsalted butter, softened
125g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 large egg, plus 1 beaten egg for glazing

Place the flour and butter in a bowl and rub together until they resemble breadcrumbs.
Add the sugar and the egg, and mix together.
Tip out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the pastry comes together, be careful not to over mix. Wrap the pastry in cling film and chill for 10 mins.

Add a big spoonful of the mincemeat mix into the pastry case and add either a star pastry topper or a spoonful of streusel mix.

Cook on 180C/fan 160C/gas 4 for 20 minutes.

Now supermarket mincemeat is absolutely fine but if you want to make your own here is my favourite recipe

Delia’s Christmas mincemeat

The only difference is that instead of soaking it for 12 hours and then cooking.  I throw it all in the slow cooker and cook for 8 hours on low.

Streusel topping
25g flour
85g demerara sugar, plus 1 tbsp
½ tsp ground cinnamon
50g cold butter

Rub the butter and flour together, add the cinnamon and the sugar and mix.


Now, I think that you would need to run for about 45 minutes to work off one of these beauties, so my question is “should they still be illegal?”