It’s not Christmas without mince pies. As you know I don’t often create many puddings apart from the odd cake here and there, so I thought I’d better follow a recipe from @nigelslater who seriously knows his stuff. Charlie wanted stars on top so I cut out small stars from the pastry that didn’t quite cover the pies. Be careful not to overfill the pies (like I did!) but if you do you’ll end up with lovely caramelised pastry which was rather enjoyable. If you like the idea of simply constructing mince pies and making homemade pastry fills you with dread, then ready rolled sweet shortcrust shop bought will do the job.
150g unsalted butter
300g plain flour
1 egg yolk
a little cold water
375g good-quality mincemeat
icing sugar for dusting
You will also need a 12-hole tartlet tin, each hole measuring 6cm x 2cm deep. It is best to bake the pies in one batch of 12, then a second one of six.
Cut the butter into small pieces and rub it into the flour with your fingertips until you have what looks like coarse, fresh breadcrumbs. If you do this in the food processor it will take a matter of seconds. Add the egg yolk, then mix briefly with just enough water to bring to a smooth dough. You will probably need just 1 or 2 tablespoons. Bring the dough together into a firm ball, then knead it gently on a floured board for a couple of minutes until it softens. Reserve half of the dough, then roll the remainder out thinly. Set the oven at 200°C/gas mark 6.
Using cookie cutters or the top of an espresso cup, cut out 18 discs of pastry. (There may be a tiny bit left over.) Place 12 discs of the pastry in the tartlet tins, smoothing them up the sides so the edges stand very slightly proud of the tin. Fill each one with a dollop of mincemeat. A level tablespoon is probably all you will get into them, unless you have especially deep tins. Be generous. Roll out the remaining pastry and make a further 18 discs of pastry, reserving 6 of them for the second batch. Slightly dampen each of these round the edge with cold water then lay them over each tart and press firmly to seal the edges.
Cut a small slit in the centre of each pie and bake for 20 minutes till golden. Let them calm down for a few minutes, then slide them out of their tins with a palette knife and serve warm, dusted with icing sugar. Repeat with the remaining pastry and mincemeat.