Mince Pie Mavens: SOS

We have been invited to a British Christmas celebration and I somehow became responsible for making mince pies, about which I know virtually nothing aside from what I just read in Joy of Cooking and Nigella's Domestic Goddess. Any tips from a pro? More specifically, are currants crucial? Where does one find glaceed cherries or can I substitute dried. Any advice would be much appreciated. What is the hallmark of an excellent mince pie?

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