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Star-topped Mince Pies

Star-topped Mince Pies

240g plain flour
60g vegetable shortening
60g unsalted butter
juice of 1 orange
pinch salt
approx. 200g mincemeat
1 large egg, mixed with a tablespoon water, to glaze, optional
icing sugar for dusting

tray of miniature tart tins, each indent about 4.5cm in diameter
5.5cm fluted round biscuit/cookie cutter
4 cm star cutter

Measure the flour out into a shallow bowl or dish and, using a teaspoon, dollop in little mounds of vegetable shortening, add the butter, diced small, shake to cover and put in the deep freeze for 20 minutes. Mix the orange juice and salt and leave in the fridge to chill.

Empty out the flour and fat into the bowl of the food processor and blitz until you’ve got a pale pile of porridge-like crumbs. Add the salted juice down the funnel, pulsing till it looks as if the dough is about to cohere; you want to stop just before it does (even if some orange juice is left). If all your juice is used up and you need more liquid, add some iced water. Turn out of the processor and, with your hands, combine to a dough. Then form into three balls (since you’re going to have to make these in three batches, unless you’ve got enough tart tins to make all 36 pies at once.) Press each ball down into a fat disc and wrap each in cling-wrap and put in the fridge to rest for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 220 C.

Roll out the discs one at a time as thinly as you can, but so that it is still sturdy enough to support the dense mincemeat.

Out of each rolled out disc cut out circles a little wider than the indentations in the trays. Press these circles gently into the moulds and dollop in a scant teaspoon of mincemeat. Then cut out your stars and place them lightly on top of the mincemeat.

Glaze if desired.

Put in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes; keep an eye on them. Remove from the oven, prising out the little pies straight away and letting the empty tin cool down before you start putting in the pastry for the next batch. Carry on until they’re all done. Dust with some icing sugar.

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