If you’ve never experienced homemade mincemeat pie (aka mince pie) you don’t know what you’re missing!
This crumbly pastry is filled with fruit, often soaked in brandy and flavoured with citrus and mild spice. However the mince pie was originally a savoury pie – and not even round!..Leave the store-bought mince pies on the shelf and get ready to fall in love.Mincemeat pie, also called mince pie, has occupied a prominent place on Britain’s holiday table for centuries and that tradition continues today.
If you want the absolutely BEST mincemeat pie, you HAVE to make your own mincemeat. If you use store-bought mincemeat your mince pies won’t taste much better than the ones you buy in the grocery store and THAT’S what we’re trying to avoid.
The mincemeat of today is very different from the mincemeat our ancestors enjoyed through the centuries and by different I don’t mean improved. The real stuff is vastly superior and your taste buds will agree once they’ve tried it. To learn more about its history, its evolution, and how to make mincemeat that you will really enjoy, be sure to check out my post on how to make your own Authentic Traditional Mincemeat.
The iconic mince pie.
You either love it or you hate it.
No, literally though – usually when people say you either love something or you hate it they’re talking about Love Actually or Bono or something that people can absolutely feel very indifferent about.
Mince pies, however, do fall into one of two categories.
Here on the Her desk, we’ve had our fair share of mince pies thrown at us over the past month.
Some of us devour them and lament the fact that we don’t have a bitta fresh cream to lob on the side.
Others turn their noses up at the delicious treats and leave them to rot on the desk, never to experience the cool crack of a fresh mince pie pastry as it descends into their mouth.
Despite all this disparity though, there is one question that has been plaguing us (and the general public, probably) for weeks on end.
We’ve been kept up at night, tossing and turning, sweating profusely just trying to figure out the answer to the one question we need answered this festive season:
Why are mince pies called mince pies?
The truth, as it turns out, is not quite as brutal as we thought. Mince pies are called mince pies because traditional recipes included mincemeat. We know – huge if true.Back in the day, mince pies were still a festive treat served around Christmas time but they were filled with mincemeat, dried fruits, and a load of spices. Sounds delish.The pie originated in the UK and naturally, became a bit of a Christmas tradition. The humble treat can even be traced as back as the thirteenth century. Madness.
Once the mince pie started being associated with Catholicism during the English Civil War, Puritans started looking down on the dessert but that did not stop people eating them and enjoying them too.
Now, the modern-day mince pie is filled with a mix of dried fruit and spices, and although this mixture is still called ‘mincemeat’, there is no actual meat in there (thankfully).
Mince pies may be still popular af in Ireland and the UK, but they don’t really appear to be a thing anywhere else. We guess the sound of eating something with mince in it as a light afternoon snack isn’t actually all that appealing.
Easy Mincemeat Pie !!!With your pantry already stocked with homemade mincemeat, traditional mince pies are a snap to make and an essential part of the British Christmas tradition!
Cornmeal Crust :
- 12 ounces all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting
- 2 1/2 ounces stone ground cornmeal
- 1 1/2 ounces sugar, plus extra for the crust
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 8 ounces very cold unsalted butter
- 2 ounces apple cider or juice
- 2 ounces cold water
- 1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water
For the Filling :
- 2 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored and quartered
- 8 ounces golden raisins
- 6 ounces dark brown sugar
- 4 ounces dried figs, coarsely chopped
- 2 ounces dried cherries
- 2 ounces beef suet, coarsely chopped
- 1 ounce crystallized ginger, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup brandy
- 1 orange, zested and juiced
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground clove
- Place all of the ingredients except the crust into the bowl of a food processor and pulse 8 to 10 times. Place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for at least 3 days before using. Can be stored for up to 6 months.
- If you prefer a finer texture of mincemeat place the apples, dried fruit and suet into a meat grinder with a large die and grind. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the remaining ingredients. You may also finely chop the apples, dried fruit and suet by hand.
- Place the flour, cornmeal, 1 1/2 ounces sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Grate the cold butter on the large side of a box grater directly into the dry ingredients. Work together with your hands until the mixture is crumbly. Add the cider and water and stir with a spatula to combine. Knead the dough 5 to 6 times and spritz with additional water if the dough is dry. Shape into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Unwrap the dough and divide into 4 equal pieces. Place 2 pieces of the dough onto a piece of parchment paper and roll each out into a 1/8-inch thick round that is 6 to 8 inches in diameter. Spoon about 1/2 cup of the mincemeat into the center of each round, fold up the edges of the dough in order to form a crust all the way around. Brush the edges of the crust with egg wash and sprinkle lightly with sugar. Transfer the dough on the parchment to a half sheet pan. Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Repeat with the remaining dough.
- If you prefer 1 large pie, roll out the dough on a piece of parchment into a 15 to 16-inch round, about 1/4 to 1/8-inch thick. Trim the edges with a pizza cutter. Carefully slide the rolled out dough, still on the parchment paper, onto an upside down half sheet pan. Spoon about 1 1/2 pounds of the mincemeat onto the center of the dough, leaving a 2 to 3-inch margin around the edge of the crust. Place in the oven and bake for 35 minutes or until the crust is golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 30 to 45 minutes before serving.