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Make the pastry by rubbing the butter and flour together with your fingertips until the mix resembles fine crumbs or whizz in a food processor. Stir in the sugar and a good pinch of salt, then add the egg yolks and water or milk and work into the mix with a knife until the dough starts to clump together. Press the dough together with your hands to form a ball, split in two and knead each half briefly until smooth. Shape into a flat disc. Wrap in cling film then chill while you make the topping.
Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Beat the almonds, sugar, egg whites and almond extract together to a rough paste.
Roll out one of the discs of pastry on a lightly floured surface and cut 12 x 9cm circles (or 10 x 10cm circles, depending on the depth of your muffin tin) with a round cutter. Push into the wells of a 12-hole muffin tin. Re-roll the leftover pastry and cut out enough 7cm circles to cover the tops.
Spoon a heaped tbsp mincemeat into each case, followed by 1 tbsp almond mix. Brush the edges of the cases with egg and press the tops on, then brush with egg. If you’re making ahead, ‘open’ freeze at this point, in the tin, uncovered. Once frozen, cover with cling film and use within a month. Bake for 20-25 mins until golden from fresh or for 25-30 mins from frozen. Leave to cool almost completely in the tin before lifting out. Serve dusted with a little icing sugar if you like. Repeat with remaining mix to make a second batch.