I love Christmas mince pies - only in my case they're tarts, because I don't put a top on them. My friend Ali usually gives me a jar of her magnificent mincemeat, and in the past I've used bought pastry, so they took no time to make. But for obvious reasons my usual pattern has been upset in both 2010 and 2011, so no tarts were made, meaning I ended up with a stash of vintage mincemeat. It kept perfectly, as it's designed to do, so this year I offered to bring it up and make tarts for Christmas at my sister's. I also offered to make the pastry, using the Cordon Bleu recipe I wrote about earlier (go to "pastry" in the labels). So today that's what I did.
The actual mixing was easy, though I hadn't actually made this sweet short pastry before. I wanted to do it all in one day, so there wasn't time to chill it overnight, though it did have a couple of hours in the fridge. That was probably why it was soft and very prone to break up when I rolled it out. But I was making very small tarts, and it was no trouble to mend any little cracks with scraps of pastry. (Not very Cordon Bleu, I know, but it worked.) I didn't blind bake the cases, I just put the mincemeat in and baked each tray of 12 for 9 minutes at 200C (not fan bake). They taste much better well baked like this than pale and anaemic.
I can't show you them because I can't work out how to get the photo from my iPad into this post! But if you go to the Facebook page you can see them over there. We ate the less pretty ones to see if they were okay, of course, and they were lovely, crisp and rich, just as they should be.
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