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MINCE PIES
To make eight 2 1/2-inch pies

8 teaspoons butter, softened
Short-crust pastry
1 1/2 cups mincemeat

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. With a pastry brush, coat the
bottom and sides of eight 2 1/2-inch tart tins with the softened
butter, allowing 1 teaspoon of butter for each tin. (These mince
pies are most successful baked in specialized tart tins, available
in well-stocked housewares stores; check the size by measuring the
diameter of the bottom, not the top.)

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry into a circle
about 1/8 inch thick. With a cookie cutter or the rim of a glass,
cut sixteen 3 1/2-inch rounds of pastry. Gently press 8 of the
rounds, 1 at a time, into the tart tins. Then spoon about 3
tablespoons of mincemeat into each pastry shell. With a pastry
brush dipped in cold water, lightly moisten the out- side edges of
the pastry shells and carefully fit the remaining 8 rounds over
them. Crimp the edges of the pastry together with your fingers or
press them with the tines of a fork. Trim the excess pastry from
around the rims with a sharp knive, and cut two 1/2-inch long
parallel slits aboutt 1/4 inch apart in the top of each of the
pies.

Arrange the pies on a large baking sheet, and bake them in the
middle of the oven for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees
F and bake for 20 minutes longer, or until the crust is golden
brown. Run the blade of a knife around the inside edges of the
pies to loosen them slightly, and set them aside to cool in the
pans. Then turn out the pies with a narrow spatula and serve.

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