December 23, 2013

Mince Pies - Part 1 (Filling)

I am new to mince pie making but it seemed just the thing to go with our Olde-Worlde meets Whole Foods gluten-free holiday feast. None of the recipes were quite right. Some called for "good quality ready made mince" oblivious to realities of the New World - a sad dusty little jar of mince at the bottom of the grocery store shelf. Does that count as good quality?

Other recipes had precise measurements in metric system or called for beef suet (tradition or not, I am not prepared to bake with beef fat). It was time for desperate measures - winging it. 

All the recipes boiled down to dried fruit, apples, spices and brandy. On to the the mince.

Gobs of dried fruit and spices
So into the pot went:

  • Loads of golden raisins
  • Handfuls of prunes chopped up
  • Dried chopped apricots, not too many
  • Chopped dry figs
  • A baggie of dried cherries
  • 2-3 tart chopped apples (mine were Granny Smith)
  • 2-3 Meyer Lemon juice and zest 
  • Juice of an orange and zest
  • Spices: cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg
  • Some dark molasses
  • In the absence of brandy, in went Cointreau (but later, once the fruit is close to being done)

Into the pot the goodies go, stir and cook, smell the goodness. Here is what did not go into the pot - no beef or any meet products and no sugar. Most recipes called for extra sugar but dried fruit are so sweet that sugar seemed an overkill.

Mince smells and tastes like Christmas.
Next step pie crust. Good luck to me!

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