Makes 20-24 mince pies
Sieve the flour into a bowl, cut the butter into 1/2 inch (1cm) approx. cubes, toss into the four and rub in with the finger tips. Add the icing sugar. Mix with a fork as you gradually add in the beaten egg (do this bit by bit because you may not need all the egg), then use your hand to bring the pastry together into a ball: it should not be wet or sticky. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Roll out the pastry until quite thin – about 1/8 of an inch, stamp out into rounds 3 inches (7.5cm) diameter and line shallow bun tins, put a good teaspoonful of mincemeat into each tin, damp the edges with water and put another round on top. Egg wash and decorate with pastry leaves in the shape of holly berries etc.
Bake the mince pies in a preheated moderate oven 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4, for 20 minutes approx. Allow them to cool slightly, then dredge with icing or castor sugar.
Serve with a blob of whiskey flavoured cream.
We have so much fun with mince pies and do lots of variations. Sometimes we press out a star shape from the top, so the mincemeat is visible, then we use that star to cover the next one, a tiny heart can be put on top of another.
All mince pies with a pastry top, need to be brushed with egg wash before going into the oven.
Mince Pies with Meringue
1 egg white
50g (2oz/1/4 cup) castor sugar
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4.
Make the meringue.
Line the tins with pastry rounds and mincemeat. Pipe a blob of meringue on top.
Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. Turn off the oven and allow the meringue to cool in the oven.
Mince Pies with Almond Crumble
110g (4oz/1 cup) self-raising flour
75g (3oz/scant 1/2 cup) castor sugar
75g (3oz/3/4 stick) chilled butter
25g (1oz) flaked almonds
Line the tins and fill as in master recipe, but do not put another pastry round on top of the pies.
Mix together the flour and sugar and then rub in the butter with your fingertips to make a coarse crumble. Add the flaked almonds. Sprinkle a generous teaspoon of crumble on top of each mince pie. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
Irish Whiskey Cream
1 teaspoon icing sugar
1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) Irish whiskey
225ml (8fl oz/1 cup) whipped cream
Fold the sugar and whiskey into the cream.