In Nigella's Star Topped Mince Pies can I substitute suet in place of the vegetable shortening used? I prefer to use suet as I believe it is more natural and as I have bought suet to use in your Christmas Pudding I may as well use it in the mince pie pastry.
Nigella's Star Topped Mince Pies (from NIGELLA CHRISTMAS) uses a home-made pastry that is made with a mixture of butter and vegetable shortening. The vegetable shortening helps to make the pastry light and flaky. Unfortunately we would not particularly recommend using the shredded suet sold in boxes (this is the type normally used for Christmas pudding) as an alternative as this is coated with with flour and will change the ratio of ingredients in the pastry which could lead to the pastry being slightly dry.
If you are not keen on using vegetable shortening then you can use lard as an alternative. You could also use all butter instead of the combination of butter and shortening. However the pastry may not be quite as flaky as butter contains some water which slightly changes the texture of the cooked pastry, though the flavour will be very good. For Christmas baking inspiration try Nigella's Christmas Cookie Collection.