Every time I ask my Dad what kind of dessert he would like me to make for holidays or special occasions, without fail mincemeat pies always comes up. He says it reminds him of childhood and yester-years. I haven’t tasted it before and it didn’t sound too appealing when I asked about it or checked out recipes on the net.
This morning I decided today was the day to tackle it. I pulled out all the ingredients I had on hand and was determined to make a version of it that he could try.
I found a recipe from the Joy of Cooking, Homemade Mincemeat that I adapted for my personal tastes and what was in my pantry.
I baked up the lil mini pies, let them cool and drove it over for him around dinner time to taste test it. I got the thumbs up!
If you are going to make this, I would take a look at the original recipe to see what all goes into a traditional mincemeat pie if you want a more authentic filing. I wanted less spices so they weren’t overpowering. Additionally, I did not have all the dried fruits or figs and some other stuff so I adjusted the recipe for what I had on hand. I also did a few other little tweaks like take some of the currants and raisins and threw them into the food processor to make the base for a little thicker filling.
The entire process took about half a day, mainly due to prep/measuring out the ingredients and letting the mincemeat filling cool and get those flavors melding in the booze. Just kidding, the juice, dried yummies and spices needed to meld up a bit but the booze helps, sorta. It’s mostly to preserve it.
I let the mix sit in the fridge for about 6-7 hours but would have preferred to have let it sit overnight for more flavor. The whole mincemeat process (cooking and soaking) on this go took about 8-9 hours.
I used store brought pie crust for ease and time saver but next time will use the dough recipe below.
The recipe post below is broken down into the make ahead items which are Mincemeat prep, then pastry dough prep followed by the assembling and baking.
Yes, it takes time to make this little baby but it was worth it to see my Dad smile about it. I will say that because I adjusted the spices and ingredients a little, I would definitely eat and make this again.
Homemade Mincemeat Ingredients:
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup unsweetened apple juice
- 2 large apples peeled, cored and diced plus 1/4 c grated (I diced it finely about the size of a currant) (Honeycrisp, Pippin, Jonagold, Granny Smith and Golden Delicious work)
- 1 1/2 cup dark raisins
- 2 cup dried currants
- 1/4 cup crystalized ginger
- Zest and juice of one orange
- 2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup (dark or light) rum plus 2-4 tablespoons
- 1/3 cup brandy
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Place 3/4 cup of currants and 1/2 cup of raisins into the food processor. Pulse a few times (8 or so) to chop up the dried fruit a bit (This step is optional).
- Place all the ingredients in a Dutch oven pot and bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring often.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the mincemeat, stirring often, for about 45 minutes, or until the liquid is almost evaporated.
- Remove from heat and stir in 2-4 tablespoons of rum or brandy.
- Let the mincemeat cool completely, then transfer to a covered container and place in the refrigerator for 6-7 hours but best overnight before use.
- It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month.
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
- 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch chunks
- 3 – 4 tablespoons ice-cold water
- In a food processor, place the flour, salt, and sugar and process until combined. Add the cold butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs (about 15 seconds). Sprinkle about 3 tablespoons of ice water over the pastry and process just until the pastry holds together when pinched. Add a little more water, if necessary.
- Turn the dough on to your work surface and gather into a ball. Divide the pastry in half, flatten each half into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 – 60 minutes, or until firm.
- After the pastry has chilled, pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees F and get ready a 24 mini muffin tin.
- Take one of the disks of pastry and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll out each round of pastry until it’s about 1/8 inch thick. Using a round cookie cutter that’s slightly bigger than the muffin cups, cut the pastry into 24 rounds. (To prevent the pastry from sticking to the counter and to ensure uniform thickness, keep lifting up and turning the pastry a quarter turn as you roll (always roll from the center of the pastry outwards).)
- Gently place the rounds into the muffin cups and top with a heaping teaspoon of mincemeat. Gather up any leftover scraps of pastry and re roll.
- Cut out 24 stars or other shapes using a small cookie cutter, and gently place the stars on top of the mincemeat. If desired, brush the tops of the stars with a little cream and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
- Bake for about 10 – 15 minutes or until the pastry has lightly browned.
- Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
- Serve warm, at room temperature or cold.