Pate Brisee (Short Crust Pastry):
1 1/4 cups (175 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon (14 grams) granulated white sugar
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, chilled, and cut into 1 inch (2.54 cm) pieces
1/8 to 1/4 cup (30 - 60 ml) ice water
Pate Brisee: In a food processor, place the flour, salt, and sugar and process until combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal (about 15 seconds). Pour 1/8 cup (30 ml) water in a slow, steady stream, through the feed tube until the dough just holds together when pinched. If necessary, add more water. Do not process more than 30 seconds.
Turn the dough onto your work surface and gather into a ball. Divide the pastry in half, flatten each half into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to one hour before using. This will chill the butter and relax the gluten in the flour
Mince Pies: Have ready one - 24 or two - 12 mini muffin pan(s). After the dough has chilled sufficiently, take one of the disks of pastry and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll out the pastry dough until about 1/8 inch thick and cut into 24 rounds that are slightly bigger than the muffin tins. (To prevent the pastry from sticking to the counter and to ensure uniform thickness, keep lifting up and turning the pastry a quarter turn as you roll (always roll from the center of the pastry outwards).) Gently place the rounds into the muffin tins. Place about a teaspoon of mincemeat into each tin and set aside while you make the pastry stars.
Roll out the second disk of pastry and cut out 24 stars and gently place the stars on top of the mincemeat. If desired, brush the tops of the stars with a little egg wash (one large egg whisked together with 1 tablespoon water) and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake in a 400 degrees F (205 degree C) oven for about 10 - 15 minutes or until the pastry has lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Dust with confectioners' sugar (icing/powdered) before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature. These tarts freeze very well.
Makes 24 - 2 inch tarts.