Like sausage rolls, mince pies are largely a matter of assembly. Here are step by step instructions to make this Christmas-time favorite.
Short pastry (enough for a pie will make about 2 dozen mince pies)
Jar mincemeat (optional - with brandy)
1 beaten egg
Confectioner's sugar to dredge - optional
Preheat oven to 400* f.
Roll out the pastry (to about the thickness of a coin.)
Cut two sizes of rounds - 3" for the bottom of the pies, and 2 1/4" - 2 1/2" for the lids. Use cutters if you have them, or turn glasses upside down. After cutting rounds from the rolled out pastry, knead the bits of pastry left over, and roll out again to make more rounds.
Use tart pans (muffin pans are too deep) - they can be purchased in many specialty kitchen stores. Fit the larger rounds into the bottom of the tart pans. Put a rounded teaspoon of mincemeat in each.
Brush the edges with water. Place the lids on top and seal. Brush the lids with beaten egg. Cut a small hole in the middle of each lid with a sharp knife.
Remove from the oven and cool. Optional: dredge the mince pies with confectioner's sugar before serving.
The recipe calls for short pastry. If you are going to consume all the mince pies on the day of baking, they can be delicious with puff pastry or flaky pastry, if you prefer. But they will be a little tough if you keep them for later, or freeze them. Mince pies made with short pastry can be frozen successfully.