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Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6/ fan 180C. Scatter the sugar over the worktop, unravel the pastry, then roll it out so it’s a quarter bigger, but keeps its rectangular shape.
Spoon and spread the mincemeat evenly over the pastry leaving a 2cm border along the longest edges. Fold one of the longest edges over the mincemeat then roll the pastry tightly into a sausage shape while gently pressing the pastry into the mincemeat. When you get to the other edge, brush it with milk and press down to seal in the mincemeat. Press both ends in gently to plump up the roll and chill for at least 30 minutes to firm it. (The mince pie roll may now be frozen whole or as portioned slices, see below, for up to 1 month.)
Cut the roll into 12 rounds, about 3cm thick. Lay them evenly spaced on a large baking sheet and flatten them with your hand so they look like squashed Chelsea buns. Scatter the almonds on top and bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown and the mincemeat sizzles. Leave to cool for 5 minutes – keep them separate so they don’t stick together. Eat hot with vanilla ice cream, or just as they are.