Former royal chef unveils ‘strange’ royal hack for perfect mince pies

Darren McGrady shares mince pie recipe

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A number of unusual festive traditions within the Royal Family have been revealed over the years by different members, but former royal chef Darren McGrady has unveiled the “strange” details of the family’s Christmas meal. This year, the Royal Family will head to Sandringham to celebrate Christmas together, as is tradition for members of the firm to retreat to their Norfolk abode for the festive season. Sharing inside details of the royal Christmas, Mr MGrady also explained the kitchen staff used to be particularly “careful” when serving one late member of the royal household.

Speaking on his YouTube channel, which has amassed a following of some 266,000 subscribers, Mr McGrady explained he cooks the rich homemade mince pics in the oven for about 15 minutes, allowing the festive treats to become “nice and golden brown”.

Notably, he revealed he does not coat the lids in egg, meaning the tops do not stick to the casing of the pie.

In order to prevent the pastry collapsing once cooked, Mr McGrady said: “Once they come out of the oven, we’ve got to let them cool down – and I mean really let them cool down, we’ve got to leave them until they go cold.”

I know, it’s hard – they smell gorgeous but hide them away somewhere, go for a walk.”  

Once cooled, the mince pics are carefully removed from the baking tray and placed onto a serving plate 

Mr McGrady went on to explain: “Later in the day, around lunch time, once the entrée had gone into the dining room, then you could put the pies back in the oven and we had to do that to get them really, really hot.”

He revealed the reasoning behind not sticking the lids to the mince pies was so, once reheated, he could place a chilled swirl of brandy butter inside the case, atop the spiced filling. 

The former royal chef said: “That brandy butter will just melt into the mincemeat. 

“By the time they got into the royal dining room – oh my goodness – they tasted absolutely gorgeous.” 

Read more: Princess Kate ignores Harry and Meghan woes to pay tribute to Queen

For a final touch, before the mince pies are served to the Royal Family, the treats are coated with a light dusting of powdered sugar.  

Mr McGrady suggested the kitchen staff had to take particular care at this final stage of preparation due to an incident one Christmas involving the late Prince Philip.

He explained: “We had to be careful how much powdered sugar we put on top of the pies. 

“I remember one Sandringham Christmas, Prince Philip nearly choking because he inhaled the powdered sugar off the top of the mince pie just as he was about to put it into his mouth.”

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This December will mark the first Christmas since the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September, but the new King appears set on following royal festive tradition.

Buckingham Palace has confirmed: “Their Majesties The King and The Queen Consort accompanied by members of the Royal Family will attend the morning service on Christmas Day at Sandringham Church, on Sunday 25th December 2022.”

Ahead of Christmas Day, the King and Queen Consort hosted extended members of the Royal Family for the annual festive luncheon at Windsor Castle, involving a lavish turkey dinner.

Senior members of the family also attended the Together at Christmas carol service at Westminster Abbey, hosted by the Princess of Wales.

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