The first mince pies of the season are always the best, Ebi-kun helped me out by filling the pies and putting on the lids..
and then of course eating them!
According to my Farmhouse Cookbook, mince pies have been traditional Christmas fare for centuries and it was customary to eat one for each of the 12 days of Christmas to ensure 12 happy months ahead (I am trying to ensure that the next decade is a happy one with my consumption!) Early mince pies were oval to represent the crib in which baby Jesus was laid, the spices in the mince meat symbolised the exotic gifts bought by the three kings. Originally the mince meat did contain meat, usually beef or tongue and preserved with brandy, these days it uses beef suet unless you are using the veggie version.
The mince meat is quite expensive here, most places it is around ¥700 for a 400g jar so to make it stretch I mix in some mixed dried fruit and a good slug or two of brandy, that way I can get 24 mince pies from one jar and I make my own pastry too, certainly worth waiting for, hmmmmm.