Renvyle House Hotel, Connemara, Co. Galway, serves a lot of Mince Pies over the Christmas Holidays.  They're a firm favourite and great to h

Renvyle House Christmas Mince Pies

Renvyle House Hotel serves a lot of Mince Pies over the Christmas Holidays.  They're a firm favourite and great to have as a standby in the freezer if visitors pop by!

Ingredients:

450g mincemeat (see below)
1 egg white
caster sugar
shortcrust pastry

Shortcrust Pastry (see below)
200g plain flour
½ teaspoon salt
50g lard
50g margarine
2 tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 220°c / 425°F / Gas 7
Sieve the flour and salt into a bowl.
Cut the lard and margarine into small cubes (1.5cm) and rub into the flour.
make a well in the centre and add the water, mixing to produce a soft dough.  Wrap in clingfilm or foil and chill until required.

Mincemeat Ingredients
100g cooking apples, peeled and chopped
70g raisins
70g sultanas
50g currants
35g mixed peel
70g brown sugar
70g suet, finely chopped
10g chopped almonds
Juice and rind of half lemon
½ teaspoon mixed spice
1 tablespoon brandy.

Mince coarsely the apples, raisins, currants, sultanas and mixed peel.  Place in a bowl and add the sugar, suet, almonds, lemon juice and rind, mixed spice and brandy.  Mix all together.
This can be made one week in advance.  Store in tightly sealed jars.

To finish the pies:
Roll the pastry thinly and cut into rounds about 8cm for the pie bases. 
Line patty tins with these and fill about half their depth with mincemeat.
Cut out slightly smaller rounds for the covers.  Dampen the rims of the pie bases with cold water and place the cover on top, pressing the edges together lightly to seal them.
Make a small slit in the top of each pie, brush with egg white and sprinkle with caster sugar.  Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove and allow to stand for 2 to 3 minutes before removing from the tins.
Serve with whipped cream flavoured with vanilla.