Richard Groves made for me...Christmas Mince PiesOrange pastry:
500g plain flour
175g icing or caster sugar (I use icing)
Finely grated rind and juice of one large orange
Sift the flour and sugar into a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces, stir these into the flour and rub gently with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the grated rind. Then, using a knife, stir in the orange juice until the dough just begins to stick together, add more fresh orange juice if the orange was not juicy enough!
Gather up the dough, wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes.
This quantity will make about 24 mince pies.
If you use bought in mincemeat the addition of a little grated orange rind, chopped apple and brandy will improve its flavour.
Roll out the pastry and use a 7.5cm fluted pastry cutter, grease your pie moulds and pop the bottoms in. Fill with mincemeat and put a 5cm top on after moistening the edge of the bottom. Brush the top with milk and bake in a preheated oven (gas mark 7/220c/425f) for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
Deluxe version: Cream 250g full fat cream cheese and 50g caster sugar until smooth. Put a teaspoon of the cheese mixture on top of the mincemeat in each pastry bottom and top with a smaller round top.
Serve warm if possible and dust with icing sugar.
If you are being a complete show off, put a pinch of cinnamon powder in the icing sugar before dusting the mincies and serve with soft brandy butter to complete the hedonistic mince pie ritual.