First, have ready all ingredients needed to make these festive mince pies.
Start by making the butter pastry. Place the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Whisk everything till well combined.
Then add in COLD butter. Be sure to cut the butter into cubes and let chill in refrigerator before use.
Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. The dough can also be made in a food processor.
Add ICE COLD water, a little at a time over the pastry until the dough comes together in a ball. (Add a little more ice water if needed).
Use a fork or your finger tips to toss the dough until it comes together.
Then place a plastic wrap on the work surface. Turn the dough onto the top of the plastic wrap.
Using the plastic wrap, gather the dough together into a ball. (The less you handle the dough the better).
Divide the dough pastry in half for easier handling.
Weigh the dough if you have a weighing scale so you can get a perfect half. Otherwise, just eyeball it to get 2 halves.
Form each half into a round dough.
Flatten the dough a little. This will make rolling the dough easier after it's been chilled.
Then wrap in the plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1 hour, or until its firm enough to be rolled. (This will chill the butter and relax the gluten in the flour).
When the pastry has been chilled sufficiently and ready to be rolled, preheat oven to 200 degree C (400 degree F).
Have ready a non-stick 24 mini muffin pan.
Mix in a little bit of rum into the store bought or homemade fruit mince to make it more flavourful. A recipe to make this mincemeat can be found at http://www.huangkitchen.com/christmas-fruit-mince/
Roll the chilled dough till very thin. Roll from the centre outward, turning pastry as you roll to check if it is sticking to the surface. Also, run your hand over the pastry to ensure even thickness.
Using a round cookie cutter that's slightly bigger than the muffin cups, cut pastry into 24 rounds. You can use a plain or fluted cookie cutter. Cut as close as possible so you don't waste any pastry.
Gently place the cut rounds into the muffin cups. Try not to pull too much the pastry. Otherwise it will shrink while baking.
Then top with a heaping teaspoon of mincemeat in each of the cut pastry cup in the muffin pan.
Using the leftover scraps of pastry, reroll into thin layer.
Then cut out another 24 smaller decorative stars or other fancy shapes (as it's christmas) using a smaller cookie cutter to fit as lids on the pies.
Place the cut out stars and other fancy shapes on the top of the mincemeat.
Use a pastry brush to brush the top of the pastry with a little milk as this helps with browning.
Next, sprinkle with a little granulated sugar.
Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 15 minutes or until the pastry has lightly browned. And we're done!
When baked, remove the muffin pan to cool on a cooling rack.
Then transfer the baked mince pies to cool completely on a wire rack.
Dust with some icing sugar if desire, before serving.
These pies can be served warm, at room temperature or even cold. They also freeze well. You can also see the original recipe at http://www.huangkitchen.com/christmas-mince-pies/ As always, ENJOY!