Mincemeat is a word that we hear at Christmastime. What exactly is mincemeat? Mincemeat is a combination of apples, raisins, fruits, and citrus peel, blended with sugar and spices to make a delicious filling for baking. This filling is usually made into mincemeat pie, but tarts, shortbread, cookies, breads, and more are additional options to enjoy this delicious filling.
Mincemeat is derived from old English recipes and today remains one of the most popular holiday foods in England. The history of mincemeat can be traced to the year 1413, when it was served at the coronation of Henry V of England. In the late 1600s, mincemeat was served as a meat pie flavored with fruit and spices. These pies, with more fruits and spices and less meat, were served as desserts when mincemeat was brought to Colonial America. Yes, minced meat can be added to these pies along with suet, but again, today we generally see more fruits and spices and less meat. I will admit, as a kid the name mincemeat didn’t ring an inviting flavor when offered a choice of chocolate cream or mincemeat. Unfortunately, the word mincemeat is another one of those heritage foods that sometimes has gone by the wayside.
I will tell you, this recipe I have for you is delicious, fun and easy to make. If you are new to mincemeat or want to try a heritage recipe for your holiday meal, there is a bottled mincemeat to get you started. It is delicious and easy to use, but give this recipe a try. The flavor is truly one of the best combinations of fruit and spices that I have ever tasted. After I made the pie, I decided that tarts would be such a fun way to share this flavor paired with a cheese and meat board. Get the kids involved making the tarts. Try it and you will be stocking any supplies that can only be found at the holiday time to make this recipe at other times during the year. Tart pans and tart supplies all can be found at Kitchen Kneads for a one stop shopping experience.
- 1 tart eating apple, peeled, cored, and cut into small dices
- 1 pear peeled, cored, and cut into small dices
- 1 ¾ ounces mixed dried fruit (I used currants, raisins, cranberries)
- 1 ¾ ounces dried blueberries (I rehydrate using apple juice before using them in recipe)
- Finely grated zest and juice of large orange
- 2 teaspoons of mixed spice (I used a combination of clove, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice)
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Small piece of fresh root ginger
- ½ cup chopped pecans
To Make Filling:
Combine all ingredients in saucepan. Over medium heat, stir continuously until liquid comes to a slow boil. Lower the heat and continue stirring until fresh fruit is softened and some of the liquid has evaporated. Your filling is now ready to use.
To Make Pie:
You will need approximately 27 ounces of filling for a 9-inch standard pie.
You will also need a double crust. As you can see, for my top crust I made a decorative crust. I did this with a giant snowflake cookie cutter and a smaller snowflake cookie cutter both found at kitchen kneads. Roll out and place the bottom crust in the pan.
Next, BLIND BAKE your pie shell for 7-10 minutes at 375 degrees F using pie weights, beans, or a pie weight chain. Blind baking your crust will keep the bottom crust flaky and the mincemeat won’t absorb into the crust while baking. Remove and fill with the filling. Top with either a solid crust, vented with slits for steam escape or make a decorative crust.
Next use an egg wash and decorative sugar crystals on the top of your pie. Bake at 375 degrees F for 45-50 minutes or until the top is golden brown. You may want to use pie crust shields on the crust to prevent over-browning.
Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack completely or overnight before serving.
To Make Tarts:
Use your desired tart pan and cut circles of dough to fit your pans. Use a tamper stick to help you form the crust. Fill your tart with mincemeat filling and top with a decorative crust cutout. I used tiny cookie cutters for this. Brush top of tarts with an eggwash for a beautiful finish.
Cook at 375 degrees F for 20- 25 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool. Dust with powdered sugar.
Try mincemeat this holiday season and discover the heritage flavor that the first settlers to America brought from England. This would be a fantastic holiday treat to eat and drink cocoa while watching A Christmas Carol.
Recipe adapted from British Health Foundation