It’s hard to believe we are already at Day 7 of Blue Owl’s Week of Christmas series. It’s been a slice, my friends. :) I’m curious, which recipe was your fav? I think today’s will be mine! I hope you enjoyed the posts, and perhaps you might feel inspired to don your Christmas apron as well (join the club!).
Today’s recipe is one of my dear favourites: The Grand Old Mincemeat Pie (made from scratch!) This traditional dessert has been made at Christmas time by the jolly old Brits for centuries. My grandmother, British by heritage, passed on the tradition to my family.
A Week of Christmas:
I fondly remember childhood Christmas dinners when my Grandma pulled these steaming pies from the oven. The kitchen would suddenly be flooded with the pies’ thick aromas of cloves, currants and citrus. Nowadays, that bouquet of Christmas scents fills me with nostalgia. It’s funny how scents tend to trigger memories. Are you the same?
If you have no clue what Mincemeat is (that’s okay!), here is the down low. :) First off, this recipe does not include any meat, despite its misleading title! Traditionally, Europeans would combine spices, citrus and dried dried fruits with some shredded (or “minced”) venison or beef to make Mincemeat pies. Currently, bakers tend to nix the meat, keeping the dessert as a sweet, fruity pie. To maintain tradition however, we will include one of the age-old ingredients this recipe calls for: suet. (We are supposed to be traditional at Christmas time, right?)
What is suet? It is an animal fat that has a deep fatty flavour and a high smoke point, making it ideal for pastry baking. It can be purchased from your local butcher shop no problem. I found mine at Windsor Meats in Kerrisdale for the attractive price of $2! If you aren’t a fan of using animal fat, no problem at all. The suet can be replaced with vegetable shortening, although your pie might lack a certain oomf in flavour.
Traditional Mincemeat Pie
Yield: 1 pie. Bake Temp: 400 F, 350F. Prep Time: 1 hour. Chill Time: Overnight. Bake Time: 1 hour.
Mincemeat 3 golden delicious apples, peeled and grated (2.5 cups) 1 cup thompson raisins 1 cup sultana raisins 1 cup currants 1 cup packed brown sugar 3/4 cup shredded suet* 1/2 cup mixed candied citrus peel (or peely marmalade) 1 lemon's rind Juice of 1 lemon Juice of 1 orange 1 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp nutmeg 1/2 tsp cloves 1/2 tsp allspice 1/2 tsp salt 1/4 cup brandy or rum *Go to your local butcher shop (I visited Windsor Meats) and ask for ground suet. They should have it no problem this time of year!) Pie Pastry 2 1/2 cups pastry flour 1/2 tsp salt 2 tbsp white sugar 1/2 cup cold butter, cubed 1/2 cup cold shortening, cubed 1/4-1/2 cup ice cold water
1. In a heavy bottomed pot, combine all mincemeat ingredients except for brandy/rum. Reach boil, then simmer on low, covered for 45 mins.
2. Meanwhile, prepare the pastry.
3. For pastry, stir flour with salt and 2 tbsp (30 mL) sugar in a bowl. Using a pastry blender, two knives or your fingers, cut in butter and shortening until coarse crumbs form. Make a well in the mixture.
4. With a fork, stir in 1/4 cup (50 mL) ice-cold water to create a soft dough that can easily be formed into a ball. If needed, add remaining water a tbsp (15 mL) at a time. Dough should not be sticky. Divide in half. Form each half into a small ball. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour or overnight.
5. Once 45 minutes is up, remove mincemeat from stovetop, and add brandy/rum. Stir it in, then scrape mincemeat into a storage container. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight along with your pastry.
6. Using a floured rolling pin, roll 1 disc, on a floured surface, into a circle about 12 in. (30 cm) wide. Roll from centre to, but not over, the edge. Keep edges even. Loosely roll up around rolling pin. Then unroll over 10-in. (25-cm) pie plate. (You can use a 9-in. [23-cm]) pie plate but you may not need all the filling.) Pat dough over bottom and up sides of plate, leaving 1/2-in. (1-cm) overhang. Don’t prick. Refrigerate. Place rack in lowest position in oven and preheat to 400F (220C).
8. Scoop heapingfulls of the mincemeat into the chilled pie crust.
9. Roll remaining dough into a 13-in. (32.5-cm) circle. Roll around rolling pin, then unroll over filling. Trim edges, leaving 1-in. (2.5-cm) overhang. Fold top edge under bottom edge. Press your index finger and thumb on inside edge of dough, while using your other index finger to press dough inward between your finger and thumb. Continue around edge. Cut a design in the top crust for steam to escape.
10. Lightly brush with beaten egg white. Don’t let it pool. (It’ll over-brown.) Sprinkle with a little sugar. Place pie on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes at preheated temperature 400 F. After time is up, lower the temperature to 350 degrees. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the center bubbles, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
This mincemeat pie brings our week of Christmas recipes to a close. I hope you enjoyed the treats throughout the week! Have you tried any of the recipes? I’d love to hear! (Do you have Instagram? feel free to post a photo or two. I’m @heathalice. )
Merry Christmas. I’ll be sending you love on the 25th.
PS: A beautiful Irish blessing to pass on to your loved ones this season.
PPS: This family is so….cool. Their Christmas e-card had me laughing. (I’m also a little jealous of their outfits)