FOR THE RICH SHORTCRUST
600g plain flour
250g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
1 free-range egg
8-10 tbsp iced water
FOR THE FILLING
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
5 rashers free-range bacon, fat and rind removed, cut into strips
500g lean free-range minced beef
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp barbecue or brown sauce
1 heaped tsp each curry powder and freshly grated nutmeg
250ml beef stock
1 heaped tbsp plain flour
2 x 320g sheets good-quality ready-rolled puff pastry
1 free-range egg mixed with 1 tbsp milk
handful poppy seeds
Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 6. Grease the holes of two of the 12-hole muffin tins, and the underside of the holes of the other two tins.
To make the pastry, put the flour and butter into the bowl of a food processor. Blend at low-medium speed for 5-6 mins until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, then add the egg and water, and beat until the pastry forms a ball. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface, then knead gently for 5 mins, forming the dough into a ball. Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 mins.
Roll out the pastry to a thickness of 3mm, then cut out 24 x 10cm rounds and use these to line the holes of the muffin tins. Prick each base once or twice with a fork, then place the empty muffin tins on top to act as a weight for blind-baking. Freeze for 30 mins, then blind-bake in the oven (with the empty tin still on top) for 20 mins until golden brown. Remove and allow to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 mins, then add the bacon and fry until the bacon is lightly browned and crispy. Add the beef and cook for 5 mins or until browned. Add the Worcestershire sauce, barbecue or brown sauce, curry powder, nutmeg and seasoning, and stir well to combine. Add the beef stock and cook for 5 mins, then sprinkle the flour evenly over the top and stir it in. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15-20 mins until the mixture has thickened, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely.
Fill the pastry cases with the cooled meat mixture. Cut out 24 puff pastry rounds about 7cm in diameter and place on top of the filled pies. Crimp the edges, using a fork if you wish, then brush the tops with the egg and milk mixture, and sprinkle over the poppy seeds.
Bake in the oven for 20-30 mins or until the pastry is cooked through and golden brown.