Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without homemade Mince Pies!
For the Pastry:
225g plain flour
pinch of salt
150g butter, cut into pieces
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 egg yolk
For the Mince Meat;
100g/3 ½oz butter or vegetable suet
200g/7oz soft brown sugar
Juice and zest of 3 oranges
2 teaspoons ground mixed spice
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
A good grating of whole nutmeg or a pinch of ready ground
250g/9oz Bramley apples, washed, cored and finely chopped or grated
100g/3 ½ oz dried cranberries
200g/7oz chopped, mixed candied peel
150ml brandy, rum or whisky
For the pastry;
Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl and rub in the butter using your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.
Mix the egg yolk with 3 tbsp cold water, then add to the dry ingredients and mix with a round-bladed knife to a dough.
Knead gently until just smooth. Wrap the pastry in clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes before rolling out.
For the mincemeat;
Mix the butter or suet, sugar, orange juice and the spices in a large pan and allow to melt together over a gentle heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture is smooth.
Add the apples to the pan with sultanas, currants, cranberries, candied peel and orange zest.
Bring gently to the boil and simmer until the apples are tender, 5-10 minutes.
Allow to cool before adding the alcohol, stirring well.
Cool completely before packing into clean, dry jam jars and sealing with a lid.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out half of the pastry to a 3mm thickness. Using a 7.5cm cutter, stamp out 12 rounds of pastry. Gently press these into a greased muffin tin. Spoon 1 tbsp of mincemeat into each pastry case.
Using the second half of the pastry utilise a star shaped cutter and cut out 12 stars as toppers.
Brush the tops with egg white. Bake at 190oc (170oc fan oven) for 20 - 25 minutes until the pastry is golden. Leave in the tins for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.