About this recipe:I am a Scrooge. As far as I am concerned, there are twelve days of Christmas and that's the most you will get out of me in terms of acknowledging the season. Unfortunately for me, the rest of the team at Kapture Studio embrace the festivities a little better than I do, especially with all the snow.
Wash all the dried fruit thoroughly under a cold tap. Dry off on clean tea towels by patting dry. Put all the fruit into a very large bowl (no, really – you need a very large bowl!), along with the suet, almonds, cherries, sugar and spices. Grate the zest of the lemon, and then squeeze the juice in over the top. Add the peel, and then the alcohol.
With your hands, mix all the ingredients together. Pack the mincemeat into sterilised glass jars, making sure there are no air pockets, before topping them with greaseproof paper (this adds to the seal) before putting the top on. Store them somewhere cool and dry for at least over night, but the longer you leave them, the stronger the taste will be (we left ours for 2 weeks).
Make the pies:
Roll out the pastry to a 2mm thickness, and using 6cm and 4.5cm pastry cutters, cut out 48 discs of each size. Lightly grease a 4.5cm diameter mini tartlet tin (or, if you have them, you might as well do all four tins at once), and line the base with the larger discs. Prick the bases and fill with mince meat.
Lightly brush the borders of the smaller discs with cold water and place them on top of the filled mince pies. Press the edges gently to ensure they are sealed. Leave to rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.
While the pies are resting, pre-heat your oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Brush the pies with the eggwash.
Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the pastry is nice and golden. Sprinkle with caster sugar and return to the oven for a couple of minutes to glaze. Immediately remove the pies from the tin before they cool in the tin and place on a wire rack.