Christmas pie

Prep: 30 mins Cook: 1 hr, 15 mins Plus cooling

More effort

Cuts into 10-12 slices
Combine a few key Christmas flavours here to make a pie that both children and adults will adore

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal488
  • fat28g
  • saturates12g
  • carbs39g
  • sugars0g
  • fibre2g
  • protein23g
  • salt1.4g
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  • 2 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • knob butter



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 1 onion, finely chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 500g sausagemeat or skinned sausages
  • grated zest of 1 lemon



    Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…

  • 100g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 85g ready-to-eat dried apricots, chopped



    A relative of the peach, nectarine, plum and cherry, apricots are fragrant, with a soft, velvety…

  • 50g chestnut, canned or vacuum-packed, chopped



    'Chestnuts roasting on an open fire...' that kitsch old Nat King Cole song perfectly…

  • 2 tsp chopped fresh or 1tsp dried thyme


    This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…

  • 100g cranberries, fresh or frozen


    A tart, ruby-red coloured berry which grows wild on shrubs throughout northern Europe and North…

  • 500g boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 500g pack ready-made shortcrust pastry
  • beaten egg, to glaze



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…


  1. Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Heat 1 tbsp oil and the butter in a frying pan, then add the onion and fry for 5 mins until softened. Cool slightly. Tip the sausagemeat, lemon zest, breadcrumbs, apricots, chestnuts and thyme into a bowl. Add the onion and cranberries, and mix everything together with your hands, adding plenty of pepper and a little salt.

  2. Cut each chicken breast into three fillets lengthwise and season all over with salt and pepper. Heat the remaining oil in the frying pan, and fry the chicken fillets quickly until browned, about 6-8 mins.

  3. Roll out two-thirds of the pastry to line a 20-23cm springform or deep loose-based tart tin. Press in half the sausage mix and spread to level. Then add the chicken pieces in one layer and cover with the rest of the sausage. Press down lightly.

  4. Roll out the remaining pastry. Brush the edges of the pastry with beaten egg and cover with the pastry lid. Pinch the edges to seal, then trim. Brush the top of the pie with egg, then roll out the trimmings to make holly leaf shapes and berries. Decorate the pie and brush again with egg.

  5. Set the tin on a baking sheet and bake for 50-60 mins, then cool in the tin for 15 mins. Remove and leave to cool completely. Serve with a winter salad and pickles.

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Comments (151)

sjcauser1's picture

I have made this pie several times over the years and it never disappoints. Now I only make it though if I am going to be feeding a crowd because it's too much for 2 people. For tomorrow's party, I have substituted bacon for apricots for an apricot hater and because the cranberries were on the large side, I've cut them in half so they don't cause a problem when cutting neat slices. My other change this year is to arrange the chicken fillets in a spiral from the centre again to aid ease of cutting. What a perfect Merry Christmas pie now for the Tiramisu.

DebsH77's picture

I've made this several times, and it's always gorgeous. Not being keen on cranberries personally, I swapped them for smacked bacon lardons.........delicious!
It's a bit of work to make, but well worth it.

tracywinter's picture

I did this pie last year and found that the cranberries were a bit bitter and hard so I've made it again this year using dried ones soaked in some port as recommended by fatsusie. This pie is so tasty and delicious and looks soooo impressive on the table!!

fatsusie's picture

OUTSTANDING!!!! What an amazing pie, I can't rave about it enough!!! I followed the recipe with the exception of using chicken thigh pieces rather than breast and I covered dried cranberries with a little port and put them in the microwave for a minute or two and cooled. I will make again and again and again and I wouldn't change a thing!!!

hairywalker's picture

Delicious alternative to the traditional pork pie at Christmas. Used mini fillets of chicken breast and left them whole. Added dried cranberries but would use fresh next time as there was enough sweetness with the apricots The filling was the exact quantity for my 24 cm diam x 6 cm deep fluted loose-bottomed flan tin resulting in a perfectly formed pie.

jaywalker's picture

This was my 2nd christmas with this pie on the buffet table....and the 5th time i have made it. I love it...and so does everyone i know.
But, my pastry (store bought) never holds....after the first cut it all goes downhill and my pie looks less like a pie and more like a opps-i-dropped-it-on-the-way-in mess. Is there a quick jelly recipie i can use to help with this?

Mama Bookworm's picture

Delicious pie. I never use fresh chicken but add leftover turkey and (sometimes) ham too. Don't bother with the breadcrumbs or chestnuts but add more apricots and have also add hard boiled eggs too. It disappears every time.

saelma4's picture

This is divine and looks impressive...will definitely make again!!

davidson's picture

Lost count of the number of times I have made this, we call it Boxing day pie. Just made two for my son's 18th party as he loves it so much. I used the chicken fillets which were on offer, so I poached them before adding to the pie. The family all commented that these were the best ever pies, the poaching kept the chicken lovely and moist.

makween's picture

Made this for my family's Christmas Eve buffet. Expected there to be leftovers when I saw the size of the pie, but in the end it was polished off in double quick time with everyone giving rave reviews. It was also very easy to make. Definitely recommended!

lindseymartin's picture

Just delicious. Made it for the first time for Christmas 2012. It was a great cut and come again dish to fill the hollow legs of the younger generation. The last crumbs disappeared at 1am along with some homemade chutney.
Will definitely become a regular Christmas time buffet menu feature and I will try freezing it next time having read the positive comments.

ctlarnold's picture

Made this for my boxing day buffet table today and my uncle said 'this tastes like Christmas in a pie' - so true, it was full of flavour and everybody loved it- will become a festive regular in my house!

sjcauser1's picture

This is my second year of making this pie and the only thing I changed from last year was to add more chicken, I use 4 chicken breasts instead of 3 to make sure that there is a full layer of chicken. This pie is a real winner and a great recipe even though there is a lot to get through for 2 people ! I tend to give some to friends if they pop round for a coffee.

lindada's picture

Diet 73, you can do it either way. Pastry, generally , is better frozen uncooked, but it would be absolutely fine to freeze it cooked if that was most convenient

lindada's picture

Diet 73, you can do it either way. Pastry, generally , is better frozen uncooked, but it would be absolutely fine to freeze it cooked if that was most convenient

mcanenny73's picture

Would you bake this pie before freezing?

mcanenny73's picture

Would you bake this pie before freezing?

mcanenny73's picture

Would you bake this pie before freezing?

glenyst's picture

Made this for a pre-Christmas family gathering and it caught everybody's eye. Very popular, and will do it again,


Questions (15)

ClaraClayton's picture

Hello, I made this fab pie last night. I fully baked it (after cooking at 190 for and hour and 180 for 25mins) I then froze it.

I want to use the pie for New Years Day. Next week can I defrost it in the fridge for say 24hrs and then eat it cold without rebaking the pie? I looked at the questions just now and realised maybe I should have frozen it before I baked it. I don't want to waste the pie and throw it away but I think it will be dry and burnt if I bake it again. Grateful for any advice thankyou x

pennyclark's picture

I made this tonight but it had a soggy bottom and the filling shrunk away from the sides, was this anything to do with me missing out the breadcrumbs? If not any advise would be appreciated:)

goodfoodteam's picture

Yes the breadcrumbs are there for a couple of reasons. They absorb meat juices from the sausage and chicken, which stops the mixture becoming too wet and they also stop shrinkage. 

karenxross's picture

Hi, I wonder if you could suggest an alternative to sausage meat for this pie?

goodfoodteam's picture

The sausage meat is the glue that helps everything to stick together so you will need to create something similar. We haven’t tried it ourselves, but 400g minced pork or chicken with 200g breadcrumbs and a beaten egg should do the trick, but the end result might have a slightly firmer texture. You will need to increase the seasonings and herbs a little too.

sandrar57's picture

If I cooked this on Dec 23rd would it keep in the fridge until Boxing Day?

goodfoodteam's picture

Yes it is fine to keep this in the fridge for a few days.

pt1976's picture

Please could you tell me how many you think this would serve? Also can it be baked and then frozen to defrost and eat cold? Thank you

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi pt1976 thanks for your question. You can get 10-12 good slices out of this pie so it would serve that many if served as part of a lunch or buffet with salads etc.

You can freeze this and it should be fine if the meat used wasn't previously frozen, however, it would be better to freeze uncooked once assembled and then defrost overnight in the fridge before baking. 

Heather Clarke's picture

Hi, I am looking to make this and freeze it raw to bake at Xmas.
Do I still need to fry the chicken or can I make it all up raw.

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi Heather Clarke, if you skip the step for frying the chicken you will lose some of the flavour and it may not cook properly. Should be fine to assemble the pie completely to the point of baking and freezing it then. Just defrost overnight in the fridge before baking - however we haven't tested this method in our kitchen so cannot guarantee perfect results. Let us know how you get on. 

KittyP29's picture

Does this pie have to be served cold or can it be served warm too?

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi KittyP29 this pie would be much better cold because as it cools the filling will firm up and be much easier and neater to cut and serve. 

chloec271's picture

I have just made this and frozen it uncooked - would you defrost before cooking or cook from frozen?

goodfoodteam's picture
Hi there, thanks for your question. As this is quite a large pie we would defrost it for a few hours before cooking.

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