For the pastry
- STEP 1
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Tip all the mincemeat ingredients into a casserole dish or roasting tray – be sure to include half the kirsch from the jar of cherries. Mix everything together, then cover with a lid or a sheet of foil. Bake for 35-40 mins until all the sugar has melted, the mixture is bubbling slightly at the edges and the liquid has reduced (the mixture firms a bit as it cools, so be careful not to over-reduce). Set aside to cool completely. Can be made up to three days in advance and chilled in the fridge.
- STEP 2
To make the pastry: tip the flour and coconut oil to a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and pulse to just combine, then pour in the vodka and 2 tbsp ice-cold water and pulse until the pastry is just coming together. Add another 2 tbsp water if a little dry, then tip the dough onto a clean surface and pat into a disc with your hands. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 30 mins.
- STEP 3
Take the pastry out of the fridge. Cut off one-third of the pastry and keep covered under a tea towel. Cut the rest into five chunks and, one chunk at a time, squeeze with your hands until malleable, then roll out on a well-floured surface to a thickness of 0.5cm. Cut out circles using a 9cm cookie cutter and line 18 holes of two 12-hole cupcake tins. Repeat with the rest of the pastry chunks, re-rolling off-cuts where necessary.
- STEP 4
Put a heaped spoonful of mincemeat in the middle of each circle, then put the pies in the fridge. Take the remaining pastry from under the tea towel and roll out to 0.5cm thickness. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with baking parchment. Chill for 15 mins to firm up.
- STEP 5
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Remove the pastry sheet from the fridge and use an 8cm cookie cutter to cut out nine circles, then use a star cutter to cut out the middles. Bring the mince pies out of the fridge and top half of them with the stars and the other half with the stamped-out circles. Use your fingers to seal the tops and bases, then brush the tops with milk. Bake for 30 mins until the pastry is crisp and the tops are golden. Cool a little, then dust with a little icing sugar to serve.