The best part of these tasty treats is that they can be made in advance and shared out at a moments notice. These pies can be frozen once baked (place them on a flat baking tray, freeze until solid then pack into freezer bags until needed) and can then be defrosted in a warm oven for 8-10 minutes before serving.
Perhaps you would like to experiment, then you might like to swap out the orange for a pinch of cinnamon or for a richer pastry, make it with all butter and an egg instead of the margarine and water.
454g Jar Mincemeat
1 tbsp Brandy (optional)
Juice and zest of one Clementine
3 tbsp Ground almonds
200g Plain flour plus extra for dusting
Pinch of salt
25g Icing sugar
100g Margarine or 50g cold butter and 50g margarine (I used Best for Pastry Stork Margarine)
4-5 tbsp Cold water
1 Medium egg
Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/Gas Mark 5. Lightly grease a 12 hole bun tray.
Place the mincemeat in a small bowl, add the Brandy (if using) and the juice and zest of the Clementine.
Stir in the ground almonds and mix thoroughly, set aside.
Meanwhile sift the flour, salt and icing sugar into a large bowl, stir to mix.
Dice the margarine into small cubes and add to the flour mixture.
With the tips of your fingers, rub the margarine into the flour until it resembles wet sand. Using your fingertips ensures that the margarine doesn't melt, as result you get a lighter, crisper pastry.
Gradually add the cold water, a tablespoon at a time and mix with butter knife. When the mix starts to come together tip onto a large piece of cling film.
Flatten the pastry into a disk shape and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. This allows the pastry to "rest" thus preventing it from shrinking when baked (nothing worse!!)
When the pastry has chilled, roll it out on a clean work surface lightly dusted with flour until it is about 3mm thick.
Using a 8½ cm diameter round cutter cut out 12 disks and line the bun tin. Using a teaspoon, ¾ fill each of the pies with the mincemeat. Gather the scraps and re-roll the pastry, cut out the lids with a round 8cm cutter. Dampen the edges of the pies and top with the lid, press in place firmly. You can seal the lid with your fingers or with a fork. Cut two diagonal slits in the lid with a sharp knife.
If you have star or snowflake cutter around the house they will really add to the festive theme to your pies.
Whisk the egg with a drop of milk and brush the top of the pies.
Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until lightly golden. Allow to cool slightly before removing from the tin and cool on a wire rack.
Dust liberally with icing sugar and serve as they are or with some quick and easy fresh custard.
The rich filling is wrapped in the light and crisp pastry, a perfect combination.