What's Christmas without fruit mince pies? And this recipe - with crisp, sweet apple - is a real winner!
25g unsalted butter
2 Granny Smith apples (175g each), peeled, cored cut into 1cm pieces
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons brandy
410g jar fruit mince
Icing sugar mixture, to decorate
3 ¼ cups plain flour
¾ cup icing sugar mixture
250g cold unsalted butter, finely chopped
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons milk
Grease two x 12-hole round-based patty pans (1-tablesoon capacity).
To make pastry, process flour, sugar and butter in a food processor until mixture resembles fine crumbs. With motor operating, add rind, eggs and enough milk until mixture just comes together to forms a soft dough.
Transfer to a lightly floured bench. Gently knead until smooth. Divide into three equal portions. Shape each into a flat disc. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about 45 minutes, or until firm.
Meanwhile, make filling. Melt butter in large, non-stick frying pan over a medium to high heat. Add apples. Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes, or until light golden. Stir in sugar and brandy. Bring to boil.
Gently boil for about 2 minutes, or until liquid is evaporated and apples are just tender. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in fruit mince. Cool.
One at a time, roll out two pastry discs between two sheets of baking paper until 4mm thick. Using a 7cm round fluted cutter, cut out 12 rounds from each, re-rolling scraps as needed.
Line prepared pans with rounds. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Divide filling evenly among cases (about 1 level tablespoon in each).
Roll out remaining pastry disc between two sheets baking paper until 4mm thick. Using a 6.5cm round fluted cutter, cut out 24 rounds, re-rolling scraps as needed. Using a 2cm star cutter, cut out centre of rounds, reserving stars.
Place rounds over filling, pressing edges to seal. Place stars off-centre, on top of each pie.
Cook in a moderate oven (180C) for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove. Stand in pans for 5 minutes. Transfer pies to a large wire rack to cool.
Serve dusted with sifted icing sugar.
TIP! Store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to two weeks. Refrigerate in hot weather. Brandy can be replaced with orange juice, if preferred.