Ready made pastry is also far easier to use than spending ages kneading and rolling it from scratch.
I'm a big fan of filo pastry for mince pies, as it's lighter and easier to cook. It's also lower in fat and calories then the shortcrust versions, so you can have twice as many!
You can always use shortcrust if you like though, and the instructions are pretty much the same.
Here's a quick and simple recipe to recreate with your kids this Christmas.
You will need:
1 pack of filo pastry
100g butter, melted
How to make it:
1) Preheat the oven to Gas 4, 350°F, 180°C
2) Remove the pastry from the packaging and brush with the butter. Then place a second sheet on top and brush with more butter, and cut the pastry into squares. The squares should be around 4cm by 4cm.
3) Grab a mini-muffin or cupcake tray and place two of the squares in each hole, making sure they're criss-crossing each other in order to create a flower shape. Pop in the oven for 10 minutes, until they get all crispy. This stops the mincemeat falling out the bottom.
4) Take the tray out and add a teaspoon of the mincemeat to each case. Replace in the oven and cook for a further 8-10 minutes.
5) Leave to cool, then serve with lashings of brandy cream or with a delicious spiced coffee. A nice alternative to the recipe is to shred a little cooking apple into the bottom of each case to give a tasty twist.