In a large plastic container (with a lid) place all of the fruit mince ingredients. Dried fruit, finely diced granny smith apple, almonds, spices, brown sugar, rum, butter and lemon zest and juice. Mix well to combine.
Place the lid on your container of goodness and place into a dark, cool place for 24 hours (or longer!) to macerate. Give the mixture a good stir at least once overnight to move those juices around, otherwise you can simply leave it to soak. Your fruit will soak up all the juices and break down ever so slightly, leaving you with a plump, juicy concoction.
When you're ready to make your pies, whip up a batch of my Gluten Free Shortcrust pastry (link in the notes below) and rest it in a ball in the fridge for 15 minutes. Let it come to room temperature before working it into pies.
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Melt your extra butter and using a pastry brush, brush it thoroughly around the insides of 2 x 12 muffin trays. Be sure to coat the bottoms and up the sides well. Set aside.
Using a floured piece of baking paper, roll out your pastry until thin and delicate, but you're still able to shift it easily. Use a plain circular 65mm cutter and start cutting out your shapes. Gently place your circular pastries inside each of your greased muffin tins, gently easing them down. Continue to roll and cut your pastry until all 24 tins have been filled.
Now take the bowl of fruit mince mixture and sieve it for a few minutes, allowing a lot of the excess liquid to drain off.
Take a tablespoon or so of mince meat mixture and spoon it into your prepared pastry cases. Be sure not to over fill them! Otherwise your little pastry star won't sit on top!
Use the remaining pastry to make the lids for your pies. Roll out the pastry and use whatever Christmassy cutter you might have on hand. A star or snowflake works and looks beautiful.
Place your pastry stars gently on top of your pies, pressing the edges of the star onto the lip of the pie.
Brush the tops with the whisked egg and sprinkle a little caster sugar over each pie. Pop them into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the pies have turned a lovely light golden brown.
Allow to cool in the tins for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool fully. A sharp knife makes removing them a cinch. Serve warm with lashings of custard, or at room temperature with a cup of coffee!
Fruit mince pies will keep in an air tight container for up to a week.