My sister loves mince pies and I have to say after the Christmas pudding (which I love lathered in Bird's Custard, I know its nasty but its my achilles heel) I am partial to a mince pie and a cup of tea. I've seen recipes for fancy twists on the old traditional, like topping mince pies with frangipane and marizpan but I like mine plain and simple, sweet pastry top and bottom. People make a big deal out of making pastry, but abide by two key rules and you'll be set:
1. Keep everything for the pastry cold,except the margarine
2. Don't overwork the pastry.
Alternatively buy good quality sweet shortcrust pastry.
Rich Sweet Pastry
225g plain flour
50g icing sugar
150g stork margarine (at room temperature)
1 egg yolk, 1 tbsp ice cold water and 1/2 lemon juice beaten together.
1. Sieve the flour and icing sugar together.
2. Place one third of the flour mixture in a mixing bowl, together with the Stork and the beaten egg mixture.
3. Cream with a fork until well mixed.
4. Add the remaining flour and mix to a firm dough with the fork until the flour is just absorbed. Bring the crumb together with your fingers, turn out on a lightly floured surface and knead lightly and quickly until smooth. Leave in the fridge for about half an hour.
Hints and Tips: Use a non stick cupcake tin but you won't need to use the cupcake liners. Roll your pastry out nice and thinly, about the thickness of a coin. Use a large round cutter for the bottom (or the mouth of a glass), pressing gently into tin. Only fill the pastry two thirds full with mincemeat, otherwise it will bubble up and burn giving a bitter taste.