Getting your hands on some really good-quality mincemeat, then stirring through a few extras to really make the flavours sing is the key to getting this moreish festive treat to taste absolutely incredible. Adding a little sprinkling of ground cinnamon in with the icing sugar before dusting is super delicious too. Enjoy!
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4 and grease a shallow cupcake tray lightly with butter. Dust a clean surface and rolling pin with flour, then roll half the pastry out to the thickness of a pound coin. Carefully cut out 12 circles with a pastry cutter or a clean glass tumbler, then lay them in the hollows of the tray and place in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, spoon the mincemeat into a mixing bowl, breaking it up with a spoon as you go. Pour in the brandy, sherry or orange juice, then add the apple, ginger, dried fruits and mixed spice, then mix well.
Roll out the remaining pastry to the same thickness. Using a smaller cutter or tumbler than before, cut out another 12 circles – these will be the lids for your pies. Knead the pastry trimmings together briefly, roll out and cut into shapes to decorate the tops of your pies (stars and tree-shapes work well).
Take the pastry bases out of the fridge and fill them just over halfway up with mincemeat, then smooth the filling out to the edges. Beat the egg and milk together, then brush over the top edges of the pastry. Lay the lids over the top, then crimp the edges together with your thumb and forefinger so the lids stick to the bases. Top each pie with a cut-out shape, then brush once more with the egg wash. Bake in the hot oven for around 25 minutes, or until the pastry is cooked through and golden on top. Dust with icing sugar before serving, then dig in.