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Mince Pies With Orange Whisky Butter

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225g/8oz/⅔ cup mincemeat
50g/2oz/¼ cup glacé (candied) citrus peel, chopped
50g/2oz/¼ cup glacé (candied) cherries, chopped
30ml/2 tbsp whisky
1 egg, beaten or a little milk
Icing (confectioners') sugar, for dusting

For the pastry

1 egg yolk
5ml/1 tsp grated orange rind
15ml/1 tbsp caster (superfine) sugar
10ml/2 tsp chilled water
225g/8oz/2 cups plain (all-purpose) flour
150g/5oz/10 tbsp butter, diced

For the orange whisky butter

75g/3oz/6 tbsp butter, softened
175g/6oz/1½ cups icing (confectioners') sugar, sifted
30ml/2 tbsp whisky
5ml/1 tsp grated orange rind


Makes: 12


1. To make the pastry, lightly beat the egg yolk in a bowl, then add the grated orange rind, caster sugar and water and mix together. Cover and set aside. Sift the flour into a separate mixing bowl.

2. Using your fingertips, rub the diced butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the egg mixture and mix to a dough. Wrap in clear film (plastic wrap) and chill for 30 minutes.

3. Mix together the mincemeat, glacé peel and cherries, then add the whisky.

4. Roll out three-quarters of the pastry. With a fluted pastry (cookie) cutter stamp out rounds and line 12-15 patty tins (muffin pans). Re-roll the trimmings thinly and stamp out star shapes.

5. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Spoon a little filling into each pastry case (pie shell) and top with a star shape. Brush with a little beaten egg or milk and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden. Leave to cool.

6. Meanwhile, make the orange whisky butter. Place the softened butter, icing sugar, whisky and grated orange rind in a bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until light and fluffy.

7. To serve, lift off each pastry star, pipe a whirl of whisky butter on top of the filling, then replace the star. Lightly dust the mince pies with a little icing sugar.

COOK'S TIP:- There is a wide range of small, shaped pastry cutters available from kitchenware stores and special seasonal packs with a festive theme also include stars and Christmas trees. While metal cutters are usually the wiser buy, as these will be used only annually, cheaper plastic cutters are fine.

VARIATIONS:- Use either puff or filo pastry instead of shortcrust for a change. Replace the whisky in both the filling and the flavoured butter with Cointreau or brandy, if you like.

Energy 356Kcal/1491kj; Protein 2.9g; Carbohydrate 46.9g of which sugars 32.4g; Fat 17.5g of which saturates 10.1g; Cholesterol 77mg; Calcium 49mg; Fibre 1.1g; Sodium 140mg

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