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If making your own pastry, tip the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter using your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, egg yolks, lemon zest and milk, then mix into a dough. Tip out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead until the pastry comes together, being careful not to over-mix. Form into a disc, cover and chill for at least 10 mins or up to two days. Will keep frozen for three months. Defrost before using. While the pastry chills, mix together the mincemeat and lemon juice in a medium bowl.
Heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7 and lightly butter the holes of a 12-hole muffin tin. Roll the pastry out to the thickness of a £1 coin and use a 10cm round cutter to stamp out 12 circles, re-rolling the offcuts if needed. Use these to line the holes of the tin, pressing them into the base using a small ball of excess pastry. Spoon in the mincemeat, leaving a little gap at the top, and bake for 15 mins until the pastry is golden. Remove from the oven and leave to cool a little, but keep the oven on. The pies will keep covered at room temperature for up to a day.
For the meringue, tip the egg whites into a clean bowl with the lemon juice and a small pinch of salt. Beat with an electric whisk to soft peaks, then sprinkle over half the sugar and continue to whisk until you have soft peaks again. Add the remaining sugar and whisk until the meringue is glossy and stiff. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle, then pipe swirls of meringue on top of each pie. Slide the pies back into the hot oven for 10 mins to brown the meringue. (You could also do this using a kitchen blowtorch, if you have one.) Serve warm. Once completely cool, will keep in an airtight container for up to a day.
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