10 December 2015

Mince Pies - But First, The Mincemeat

Homemade Mincemeat / www.delightfulrepast.com

My mincemeat recipe makes enough for a regular 9-inch pie; but as much as I love my homemade mincemeat, a big slice of pie is just too much.

That's why I make the lovely little mince pies of my childhood that are so popular in Britain this time of year. You can make-do, I suppose, with muffin or mini muffin tins; but I recommend getting a proper mince pie tin.

So order your tin, then make the mincemeat. It needs to mellow out for a few days in the fridge anyway. By the time your tin arrives, it will be ready.

Mince Pies - But First, The Mincemeat / www.delightfulrepast.com

As you know, I use all organic ingredients but don't necessarily specify it in every recipe. In this case, I specified organic oranges and apples because their skins are going into it so you can't peel away the pesticides and wax.

There is plenty for multiple batches of mince pies (4 dozen pies the size I make), which is good because you're going to want more! Forgot to mention, nobody puts meat in mincemeat these days, but some do use suet. Apologies to my English grandmother and mother, but I'm not heading down to the butcher shop for a piece of suet. I prefer butter. 

About storage: I've stored a batch of mincemeat in the refrigerator for a couple weeks. For longer storage, I freeze it. If I wanted to store it in the cupboard, I would water-bath can it in pint jars for 25 minutes. 

Lots of recipes, even by famous English cookery experts, would have you just put the completely cooled mincemeat in sterilized jars, cover with waxed discs, slap the lids on and put them in the cupboard. Delia Smith says, "The mincemeat will keep for ages in a cool, dark cupboard - I have kept it for up to 3 years." Sorry, Delia, love you, but that sounds a bit dicey to me!

So order your mince pie tin, make your mincemeat, and come back here next Thursday for the Mince Pies recipe. Okay, are you with me? 

Mincemeat for Mince Pies / www.delightfulrepast.com

Mincemeat

(Makes about 1 quart/4.5 cups)

2 medium (7 ounces/198 grams each) organic or unsprayed and unwaxed oranges for peel and juice
Water
3/4 packed cup (5.25 ounces/148 grams) dark brown sugar
1 packed cup (5 ounces/142 grams) dark raisins
1 packed cup (5 ounces/142 grams) light raisins
1 packed cup (5 ounces/142 grams) dried cranberries
1/4 cup (1 ounce/28 grams) whole almonds
1/2 cup (4 ounces/ 113 grams) unsalted butter
2 large (7 ounces/198 grams each) organic or unsprayed and unwaxed Granny Smith apples
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon mace or nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/8 cup (3 fluid ounces/89 ml) brandy
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 Scrub the organic, or at least unsprayed, oranges. Cut a bit off the end of each orange. Cut just through the skin in four vertical segments. Remove each segment of skin in one piece. Cut each vertically into strips somewhere between 1/8- and 1/4-inch (about 4 mm) wide, then cut the strips into dice the same size.

2 Measure 1/2 cup (1.75 ounces/48 grams) of the diced orange peel into a 3-quart saucepan. Add 2 cups of water. Bring to boil, and boil gently for 5 minutes; drain. Repeat.

3 Add brown sugar and 1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces/118 ml) freshly squeezed orange juice to the drained peel in saucepan. Bring to boil, and boil gently for 20 minutes.

4 Meanwhile, measure out and chop the dried fruits and almonds. Scrub, but do not peel, the apples. Cut them into dice the same size as the orange peel; measure out 2 packed cups (8 ounces/226 grams). After the peel has cooked in the sugar for 20 minutes, add the diced apples, chopped fruits and nuts and the butter. Stir in the spices and salt. Cook over low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring in the brandy and vanilla extract at the last.

5 Pour into glass storage container or two pint jars. Cool at room temperature, then refrigerate for up to a week.   

58 comments:

Bernideen Canfield said...

You are such a fabulous Pastry Chef! These look amazing. So glad you shared another of your wonderful recipes and expertise!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Aaw, Bernideen, thank you! I do love baking things to go with tea! :-)

Pauline Wiles said...

Dare I admit, I'm not the world's biggest fan of mince pies? Unless I've been for a three mile walk in chilly weather, that is.
But I'd love to try one of yours :)

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Pauline, it's okay :D but here's what to do then. First, make the mincemeat. Then make half the pies with the mincemeat just as it is. And half that are half mincemeat/half finely diced apple. I think even my husband will love them done with half extra apple!

Angie Schneider said...

wow Jean, I am drooling...I must make the mincemeat too.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Angie! Glad you're a mincemeat fan, too. Don't mince pies go beautifully with a nice cup of tea?

Sandi@ Rose Chintz Cottage said...

Jean, your little mince pies look amazing! I have never made my own mincemeat but my parents did. I will definitely try your recipe when I make my own. I make my own pie crust unless I'm in a rush and then I cheat and use the frozen mini tart shells. I know, it's never as good. But I have to agree with you, mincemeat pies are such a treat with a cup of tea! Thanks for sharing.

Merry Christmas,
Sandi

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan said...

Am calling back all my information-gathering operatives that I’ve had out in the field since childhood trying to discover what the meat is in mincemeat. Suet. Puh. What a bummer. Thought it would at least be something exotic like hummingbird tongues or desiccated walrus bladder, but…suet. Suet, suet, suet! (Why are pigs running at me?) Sigh. Biggest disappointment I’ve had since I found out artichoke hearts don’t pump blood. Note: put Delia in the cupboard for three years or until she recants, whichever comes first.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sandi, thank you! And come back next Thursday for the pastry for the mince pies. It's easier than regular pie crust because you don't have to worry about over-mixing it and making it tough.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sully, the meat used to be beef or whatever, in addition to the suet, many years ago. The spices and dried fruits disguised the rottenness of the meat. Yum yum! Poor Delia in the cupboard!

Amy at love made my home said...

Nothing like a good mincepie hey! xx

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Amy, I so agree with that! This week, the mincemeat. Next week, the pastry and the baking.

Mildred said...

I remember mother baking these and how good they made the house smell!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Mildred, thank you for sharing a food memory! I always think of my mother when I make them.

Cranberry Morning said...

Mmm, more crust per bite this way. What a cute tin that is, and I would imagine these pies are a huge hit. My grandma made the most marvelous real mincemeat with meat, raisins, apple, I think, and probably suet. Of course there were other ingredients, including the wonderful spices. Even as a kid I loved that stuff. What a fun memory this has dredged up, Jean! Thanks.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Mmm, yes, Judy, we do like our crust, don't we?! I'm sure the meat your grandma put in her mincemeat wasn't rotten as in the (really) old days!

belleau kitchen said...

Your mincemeat recipe is wonderful! I love that Americans are finally getting onto the mincemeat bandwagon. To me it's the ultimate taste of Christmas! Can't wait for you pie recipes xx

Lavender and Lime (http://tandysinclair.com) said...

I need to amp up my next batch with vanilla! thanks for the idea :)

Margaret-whiteangel said...

Great ingredients in that receipe..
I bet they taste just the best

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Dom, thank you so much! I love keeping my British heritage alive in the kitchen.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Tandy. I think the vanilla really adds something. It doesn't get lost in the brandy.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Margaret. I love all those flavors. Sounds like a lot of spice, but once the mincemeat is combined with the crust, it's really just the right amount.

Sue/the view from great island said...

This is so funny jean, I was just talking to my daughter about mince pies, and how we really wanted to try them this year. They've always mystified me, but your recipe looks so inviting, and all those lovely spices are calling my name!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sue, thanks! I'll be posting the pastry and detailed directions next Thursday. You will no longer be mystified! :D I hope you and your daughter will make this the year of the mince pie in your family!

Sippity Sup said...

I hate to say this but (in theory) mince pies don't really appeal to me. I'm sure it's because it's not the kind of thing we ate at Christmas when I was growing up. We ate fruitcakes instead. But come to think of it they don't really appeal to me either. Therefor it must be a psychological block and something to think about. After all I am firm believer in there's no such thing as food I don't like, there's only food I'm unfamiliar with. GREG

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Greg, it would be interesting to discover a psychological block, for your own purposes, but it's really okay to not like mincemeat and fruitcake! :D Seems to be a common "problem," in America anyway. So whenever I serve either, I make sure to serve something a bit more universal in appeal as well.

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

Ooh Jean, I would love to try one of your mincemeat tarts! They are so adorable and I look forward to your pie crust recipe next week.
Happy weekend to you!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Kitty! I love making little pastries for my afternoon teas. One does go for "adorable" on such occasions!

April J Harris said...

Mince pies really are popular over here this time of year - and good mincemeat is definitely the foundation of a good mince pie! Your mincemeat recipe sounds delicious, Jean. And I agree, it's so important to use organic fruit when the peel is going in the recipe as well. I use it mincemeat in so many things - including squares and cakes - I look forward to giving your recipe a try! Sharing! Thank you for being a part of the Hearth and Soul Hop.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

April, thank you! And thank you for sharing my post -- much appreciated!

Bernideen Canfield said...

Jean:
Your blog post was one of featured posts from Monday for today! Congratulations!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Bernideen, thank you so much! And I hope all my readers who love tea and teatime treats will check out blog.bernideens.com.

Daniela said...

Darling Jean,
I think your recipe to be wonderful, I love making little pastries, and these are in the theme with British traditions, which also I love so much !
I'm taking note, it sound too inviting, believe me!
Thank you my sweetest friend,
may your weekend be the most beautiful,
with dear love
Dany

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Dany, thank you! I hope you'll make them soon and let me know how they turned out for you.

Two Cottages And Tea said...

I love mincemeat pie and have always made it with purchased filling. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe! Also thank you for leaving such a sweet comment on my post!
...Nancy

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Nancy! I make tiny pasties for afternoon tea, too tiny to feed the miners in the UP!

Deborah Montgomery said...

Oh my . . .I might have to do this. I like little mince tarts, but never have made any. Mince meat filled cookies, but always with purchased mince meat. I'll bookmark this and see if I have time next week. Thank you!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Deborah! If you like storebought (and it is pretty tasty), I think you're going to love homemade!

Jenne said...

I have to try these as I have never had them!

Brooks said...

I love how you put these together; individual pies always seem extra special to me. Like many in the US, I'm not well-versed on the virtues of mincemeat, and in reading this post, I was reminded of the one thing I knew: suet as a typical ingredient. I'd likely mirror current trends as you have sans the meat. Pinned for future reference!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Jenne, they're an English/British thing, so a lot of people have never had them. But I think you'd like them!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Brooks, thank you. Of course, *you* would probably take the time to make lattice tops for them! Though I make those for big pies, I'm just not up to making a bunch of tiny ones. But Thursday you'll see ones about as fancy I'm going to get this time around!

Wanda @ From House To Home said...

Jean...I just saw your post on mincemeat. My mother's family is British and we always have mince tarts for Christmas (and afternoon tea). But I've always used the store-bought mincemeat. Your recipe sounds so good I'll have to try making it from scratch!

Swathi Iyer said...

You make beautiful pie in the world, thanks for sharing this mincemeat pie for Hearth and soul blog hop, pinning and tweeting.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Wanda! I do hope you'll try it and let me know how you liked it!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Swathi, you are so kind! And I so appreciate your comments, pins and tweets.

Lucy @ Bake Play Smile said...

Oh I've always meant to make mince pies but have just never got round to it. I really should try your recipe - it sounds amazing!!! Thanks for linking up to our Fabulous Foodie Fridays party xx

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Lucy, thank you! I hope you will try them soon; I'll be posting the pastry and directions on Thursday morning.

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef said...

I know this will sound weird but I never tasted a mincemeat pie until last year. I kept saying, "Why didn't someone tell me they were this good???"

Then I began making my own. I must try your recipe next.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Maureen, better late than never, I suppose! I just made another batch of pies today. They are sooo good, especially while they're warm.

Miz Helen said...

Your Mince Pie are going to be heavenly! Thanks so much for sharing your post with us at Full Plate Thursday and have a great day.
Come Back Soon!
Miz Helen

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Miz Helen, I will, thank you!

Tony Grant said...

Your mince pies look wonderful and I am sure your ,"mince pies," look wonderful too Jean. A little Cockney Rhyming Slang joke there amongst us Brits. The way you display your pies might refer to the Cockney slang. Was that intentional?Ha! Ha!
Yes, us lot over here can't have Christmas without mince pies.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Tony, how funny! And, you know what, it *might* have been intentional in a subconscious way -- I *had* just decided to start re-watching the old Good Neighbors/Good Life series and was thinking about the fake Cockney character! Will you be baking the mince pies for you lot?

Lea Ann (Cooking On The Ranch) said...

My mom used to make mince meat pies all the time and I've been wanting to make one. It's been years since I've had one. I love that pie pan, makes such beautiful little treats. Thanks so much for sharing this. Pinning for when I can find time to order that pan and make these pies. Merry Christmas

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Lea Ann! I do hope you will make them soon and let me know how they turned out for you. Wishing you a wonderful 2016!

Big Rigs 'n Lil' Cookies said...

I've seen so many photo's lately for Mincemeat Pies, and they always look so perfect! Honestly, I have never known what makes "Mincemeat", so I really enjoyed this post/recipe and getting to learn what exactly it is. It really sounds delicious, and I can see why it is so popular!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Lil' Cookies! You're not alone -- the name "mincemeat" makes a lot of people wonder what sort of strange concoction it is!

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