Put the flour, sugar, orange zest (if using) and salt into a bowl or food processor. Add the chopped cold butter, and either rub it in with your finger tips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs, or pulse in the food processor. Whip the yolks and water together, and add to the flour mixture, mixing until it comes together. Do not over process.
Turn out on to a floured surface and form into a ball. Wrap in cling film and chill for 10 minutes.
Heat the oven to 190°C, gas mark 5. Roll out the pastry to 3 - 4 mm. Choose a larger cutter, preferably with a wavy edge, for the case, and a smaller one for the top. Grease a fairycake tin, and place a pastry round in each hole, pressing gently into place. Add a teaspoon of mincemeat, being careful not to overfill. Damp the edge of the pastry, and lay the smaller pastry round over the top, pressing the edges together. Make a small hole in the top to allow steam to escape, and brush with beaten egg.
Bake for 20 minutes until golden. Dust with icing sugar to serve.
Freezing and defrosting instructions
This recipe will freeze for up to three months. Open-freeze the tray of uncooked mince pies and once the pies are solid, remove each one from the tray and place in a polythene bag and stick it back into the freezer. When ready to cook, add the desired amount of pies in the tray and bake for 30 minutes.
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