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Rick Stein's take on this Christmas classic is based on his mother's recipe. With perfectly buttery pastry cases, this is a failsafe you'll return to year after year.

From the book

Introduction

I am conscious that I’ve brought many of my mother’s recipes into this book. She was a very good cook and, as I am fond of saying, I’m always trying to cook the food my mother cooked for me as a child because those were the best things I have ever eaten. Her mince pies are a case in point. The extreme ‘sandiness’ of the pastry is what makes them so special. Her recipe calls for more fat to flour than your average shortcrust and can be a little too rich in some cases but not in mince pies.

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Ingredients

1 jar of mincemeat
icing sugar, for dusting
milk, for brushing
For the shortcrust pastry:
225g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
½ tsp salt
65g lard or vegetable shortening, cold and cubed
65g butter, cold and cubed
1½–2 tbsp ice-cold water

Essential kit

You will need: a 12-hole shallow bun tin.

Method

To make the pastry, combine the flour, salt, lard (or shortening) and butter in a food processor and pulse until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Transfer to a bowl and stir in just enough of the ice-cold water to get the pastry to come together in a dough.

Turn the pastry out on to a lightly floured board and form it into a thick disc. Cover with cling film or baking parchment and leave to rest in a cool place or the fridge for about 30minutes. If you put the pastry in the fridge, allow 15 minutes or so for it to come back up to room temperature before rolling it out.

Roll the pastry out on a floured board to a 2–3mm thickness. Using a pastry cutter, cut 12 discs large enough to fill 12 cups of a shallow bun tin.Then use a smaller cutter to cut another 12 discs to form the lids. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C.

Add a tablespoon or so of mincemeat to each pastry-lined cup. Brush the edges of the pastry with a little cold water and put the lids on top, pressing the edges to seal. Make a couple of slits in each lid to allow steam to escape and brush the pies with milk, then bake for about 25 minutes until golden and crisp. Serve warm, dusted with icing sugar. If you want to make the pies ahead of time, warm them through in the oven before serving.

Tip: This pastry is delicious but very short and crumbly which makes it a bit delicate to handle. Keep it cool and handle as little as possible. You can re-roll the trimmings but the less you do, the better the pastry.

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From the book: Rick Stein at Home: Recipes, Memories and Stories from a Food Lover’s Kitchen

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