Makes 12 small pies.
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup sultanas
1/3 cup currants
3 1/2 tablespoons butter (plus extra for greasing)
2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced small
2/3 cup dark muscovado sugar
zest and juice of 1 large orange
1 tablespoon mixed spice
optional: brandy, Cointreau, apple, or lemon juice
3 cups plain flour
1/3 cup icing sugar, sieved
2/3 cup cold butter, diced small
1 large egg (plus extra for glazing pastry)
Preheat the oven to 350°F (with fan, if possible). You will also need to grease a muffin tray (or other baking tray with hollows). You will need a round and star shaped cookie cutter.
To make the pastry, sift the flour into a bowl. Add the diced butter and rub into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in icing sugar and salt. With a dinner knife, work in the egg yolk, then use your hands to bring it together to a firm dough (add a few drops of cold water if it appears very dry to help the mixture come together into a ball). Wrap in plastic and chill for 20 minutes.
For the mincemeat, weigh out all the ingredients and transfer to a medium-sized heavy saucepan. Heat over a moderate heat, stirring occasionally as the butter melts. Simmer gently for 30 minutes. The mixture will be dense. (If you are making a large batch and it dries out, add in more orange juice.)
Divide the chilled pastry in half and roll the pastry out to 2mm thickness on a lightly floured work surface and use a 10cm cookie cutter to start stamping out pastry rounds pressing them gently into the greased muffin hollows, rolling out the second half of the pastry to fill all the hollows (and star lids).
Half-fill the pastry shells (1-2 teaspoons of filling is plenty). Reroll the pastry and stamp out star shapes. Brush the pastry stars lightly with egg glaze, then place them on top of the mincemeat in each pie.
Place in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until light golden in color, and remove from the oven once the mixture only just starts to bubble up around the edges (if they bubble for too long, the filling gives a chewy texture).
Serve slightly warm dusted with icing sugar.