If you want to make these delicious mince pies in advance complete to the end of stage 4 up to 3 days ahead. Refresh in a moderate oven at 180C (350F), Gas Mark 4 for 8-10 minutes, then glaze. Freeze the mince pies at the end of stage 4. Thaw at room temperature for 2-3 hours, then arm through in the oven as described below before glazing.
To make the pastry, place the butter, flour, salt and sugar into a food processor and blend for 20 seconds. Add the egg yolk and blend again until the pastry comes together. Do not over-work or the pastry will be tough. Wrap in cling film and chill for an hour.
To make the frangipane, put the butter and sugar into the unwashed processor and blend until soft and creamy. Scrape down the sides, add the eggs and continue to process. Don’t worry if the mixture looks curdled at this stage. Add the ground almonds, flour and almond extract, and mix briefly.
Preheat the oven to 200C (400F), Gas Mark 6. Roll the pastry out thinly on a lightly floured work surface and cut into 18 x 6.5cm circles. Use to line the tins. Spoon a teaspoon of mincemeat into each tartlet and top with the frangipane mixture. There is no need to spread the mixture flat as it will level out in the oven (but do not overfill the tins). Sprinkle a few flaked almonds on top of each one. Bake for 15-17 minutes, watching carefully. Remove from the tins and allow to cool a little on a wire rack.
Dilute the apricot jam with a little lemon juice or water and bring to the boil. Brush each warm tartlet with glaze. Like traditional mince pies, these are best served warm with a light dusting of icing sugar.
If you want to make a large tart, you can use the exact quantity above to fill a 23cm loose-bottomed tin, which will take about 25 minutes in the preheated oven.
Not surprisingly, my Auntie Maureen is also the champion of this Maguire classic. Before she retired, she was a Domestic Science teacher in Cavan, and I don’t believe she ever had a pupil who didn’t learn how to make her marvellous mince meat pies. Once you’ve made it yourself, you’ll never buy another jar of the stuff again. Why not make twice the amount of mincemeat and put into some sterilised fancy jars, then wrap with a red ribbon and give a jar to your friends for a Christmas gift.
Peel, core and finely chop apples. Melt the butter in a small pan or in the microwave. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and cover with clean a tea cloth. Leave for 2 days for the flavours to develop, then pack into 3 x 400g (14oz) clean, dry jars. Seal and store in a cool, dark place for 3 weeks before use.