Makes 24 tarts

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For the sweet crust:

21/4 cups flour

1/4 cup sugar

2 whole eggs

11/4 cups butter,

softened

Water

1 beaten egg

1/4 cup powdered sugar

For the mincemeat:

3/4 cup currants

3/4 cup raisins

3/4 cup sultanas (if available)

3/4 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup mixed grated citrus peel

1 small apple, peeled, cored, finely grated

1 stick butter

1/2 cup whole blanched almonds, rough-chopped

1 cup light-brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon pumpkin spice

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon and 1 orange

1 cup brandy, rum, or sherry

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1. For the crust: Gently cream the butter and sugar together, add the beaten eggs, then fold in the flour with a rubber spatula.

2. Form the dough into a ball, cover, and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

3. Meanwhile, make the mincemeat. Measure all mincemeat ingredients except the alcohol into a large pan. Heat gently, allowing the butter to melt, then simmer very gently, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.

4. Allow the mixture to cool completely, then stir in the brandy, rum, or sherry.

5. Once the dough has been chilled, roll half of it to 1/8-inch thick, cut into 24 3-inch circles with a cookie cutter.

6. Roll the other half of the dough to 1/8-inch thick, cut into 24 21/2-inch circles with a cookie cutter.

7. Gently press the 3-inch circles into a cupcake baking pan.

8. Fill each shell with 1 heaping teaspoon of mincemeat.

9. Gently wet the sides of the shell with water, then place the 21/2-inch dough on top and gently press the two pieces of dough together until they stick.

10. Place a single knife cut on the top of the dough.

11. Gently brush the tops with a little beaten egg.

12. Bake in a preheated 375-degree F oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Dust the pies with powdered sugar and enjoy.

- From Ashley James, culinary director, Starr Catering Group

Per serving: 572 calories, 7 grams protein, 54 grams carbohydrates, 23 grams sugar, 36 grams fat, 156 milligrams cholesterol, 31 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber.

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