Every year, since I can remember, mince pies have been made in copious dozens and consumed at alarmingly fast rates in my family. Combined with a dry sherry, there is nothing else that makes me feel more Christmassy than this. They are to be eaten at all times of the day, including for breakfast. In our home, Santa gets a glass of Sherry and two mince pies on Christmas Eve. No milk and cookies for that old gent. And because I have to phone my mum EVERY year to ask the same question about baking temperature, I thought I might as well post the directions etc. to making delicious mince pies (or mince tarts).
There are some vital tools that you will need, many of which I have only found in the UK. My tart pans and cutters came from England but I'm sure you can use something else. Before I had the cutters I used different drinking glasses.
Make your favourite pastry (I use the "flaky pastry" recipe from the Joy of Cooking) and roll it out on a floured surface to about 2 mms thick. Cut out 12 large circles (bottoms) and 12 smaller circles (tops). Grease the tart pan and line each tart section with a bottom. Fill each tart with about 1.5 tsps of Crosse and Blackwell's mincemeat. This is the key. Almost all other mincemeats are pretty awful tasting but the Crosse and Blackwell line is delicious. Using warm water, wet the edge of a top and place wet side down on the filled tart. Push/tuck the top into the bottom. Snip the top with scissors and paint the top with milk. Bake in a 400F oven for about 20 minutes. Tarts should slide right out of pan, or you didn't grease them enough. Cool and serve.
Snipped and milked:
Ready to bake:
Ready to eat: