Mince pies are like poems: you have to fill them with the best things, deeply packed. In their case the best mincemeat you can afford. Making your own is just not worth the trouble. Trust me, I did it once.
The ONLY pastry to use is shortcrust. And yes, you must make your own. Everyone knows how to do this – if you don’t, ask me in the comments box and I will explain. Two tricks I use however:
1) Add a sprinkle of nutmeg and cinnamon to your flour
2) Mix with MILK not water. It makes it easier to handle and then you can roll it out really thin.
You can roll out a little more after using the cutters to get your rounds. The thinner the pastry, the more delicate and yummy the pies. It’s quite nice to cut stars out for the top for some of them, for a change.
After they are baked, sift half of them with icing sugar. Not everyone likes this topping, so offer a choice.
If possible serve still warm. A little clotted cream adds an extra special touch but allow people to put their own on as it melts fast.
Home-made mince pies are millions of times nicer than the ones you buy in the shops. Go on, treat yourself.