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Chai Spiced Mince Pies

For the filling:
 360g (2 cups) dried mixed fruit - you can buy this from the supermarket
 200g (1 cup) brown sugar
 50g (1/3 cup) slivered almonds, finely chopped
 1 apple - peeled, cored and quartered
 2 teaspoons of Chai Walli Ground Chai Dust*
 40g butter, melted
 2 tablespoons brandy (optional)
 3 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
 1 egg, lightly whisked
 1 teaspoon white sugar
For the pastry:
 300g (2 cups) plain flour
 70g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
 160g chilled butter, chopped
 1 egg yolk
1

To prepare the fruit mixture, finely chop half of the mixed fruit and put it into a large bowl.

2

Add brown sugar, almonds, chopped apple pieces, butter, brandy (if using), lemon rind, lemon juice, ground chai and the remaining mixed fruit. Note: if you're not using brandy, replace with 1 tablespoon of water.

3

Stir until well combined. Cover with a reusable wrap or lid and set aside overnight, stirring occasionally, to macerate (infuse the fruit - yum!).

4

The next day: Transfer the fruit mixture to a fine sieve over a bowl and stir to remove excess liquid.

5

To make the pastry, place the flour, sugar and butter in the bowl of a food processor and process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

6

Add the egg yolk and 2 tablespoons of water. Mix until it starts to come together, then put it onto your clean bench.

7

Using your hands, shape the dough into a round and cover it with a reusable wrap.

8

Place in the fridge for 20 minutes to cool and rest.

9

Preheat your oven to 180C.

10

Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface until approximately 5mm/.5cm thick.

11

Use something round to cut circles into the pastry. You can use a pastry cutter-shape (we used one that was 8.5cm in diameter), or even a glass jar or cup. Cut out 20 rounds.

12

Using a 5cm-diameter star-shaped pastry cutter, cut 20 stars from the remaining pastry. If you don't have a cutter, use a sharp knife and get creative!

13

Line twenty 80ml (1/3-cup) capacity muffin pans with pastry discs.

14

Divide the fruit mince among the pastry cases. Top with pastry stars.

15

Brush the stars lightly with the egg and sprinkle with white sugar.

16

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until light golden.

17

Set aside in the pans for 5 minutes to cool before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

18

Serve with a steaming cup of fresh chai!