Mince pies are the essence of Christmas for me. Little tarty things, crispy buttery pastry containing a dollop of fruity, boozy mincemeat (mincemeat recipe here). The name, misleading though it is, possibly comes from a time when all food was called 'meat'.
Chop the butter into cubes and chuck them into a small pan with the boiling water. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. When the butter has melted into the water, stir the mixture into the flour. You may need to take the pastry out of the bowl and knead it a bit to get everything nicely mixed.
Leave the pastry to cool down to room temperature. If you're in a hurry (aren't we always?), wrap it in plastic film and stick it in the fridge or freezer.
Press each pastry base into the dents in the tin. Place a disc of pastry in each one, pressing them down to the bottom, and then spoon in a dollop of mincemeat. Moisten the corners of each lid and press them down onto the base.
Brush with egg-wash (a beaten egg plus a little milk) all over the top and around the rim of each pie, and then sift caster sugar on top of each pie. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
When your pies are nice and golden, remove them from the tray and place on a cooling rack. Sprinkle again with caster sugar.
Congratulations, you just made the taste of a British Christmas!