Mince Pies – Traditional seasonal treats
Mince pies are as much a part of the Christmas fare as a Christmas pudding. Both traditional Christmas puddings and mincemeat use dried fruit as their base along with brandy and spices for flavoring. Once made the mincemeat can be processed and stored for several months along with your strawberry jams in the pantry.
The history of mincemeat and mince pies dates back to European Middle Ages when meat was preserved with spices making it edible throughout the dark winter. Over the years the meat part was changed to just spices and dried fruit. European recipes still call for cooking suet which is a rendered fat from beef or lamb and is not usually available in USA. As it is high in cholesterol a healthier fat is acceptable.
Christmas Recipe for Mincemeat:
3 cups dried mixed fruit (cranberries, raisins, dried apricots etc.)
I apple, peeled, cored and chopped;
Zest and juice of one lemon;
1/2 tsp cinnamon &/or nutmeg;
1 1/2 cups brown sugar – dark if possible;
1 tbsp fat (butter or margarine both work fine)
1 tbsp brandy
1: In a large saucepan, soften the fat;
2: Add chopped apple to par-cook;
3: Add the brown sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice – stir to combine well;
4: Add the dried fruit and spices;
5: Stir to combine all the ingredients;
6: Cook over a medium heat for about 15-20 mins.
7: Remove from stove and add brandy.
8: Cool and put into clean jars.
8: Store, covered, for a week or two in refrigerator before using or process in boiling water for 5 mins to preserve for months.
Recipe for Mince Pies
Christmas recipe for mince pies
1 egg whisked with a tbs milk
Extra fine sugar for dusting
Deep patty tin
1: Line the deep patty tin with pastry;
2: Add 1-2 tsp of mincemeat;
3: Dampen the perimeter of the pastry tops with egg/milk wash
4: Cover the pies;
5: Brush the egg/milk wash over the pies;
6: Bake at 375 for about 15 mins until the tops are lightly brown;
Cool and sprinkle with extra fine sugar.