It’s 10 on 10 time again. Welcome back to our little blog circle. Since it’s Christmas time and everyone is pulling out their holiday sweet recipes I thought I would do a blog post on that.
Let me just say that I normally don’t pay attention to dishes on the holiday dessert table unless they contain chocolate. Those plates filled with concoctions lacking that one key ingredient are literally invisible to me. No offense. I appreciate that people take the time to make them and I hear they are good. But I don’t waste my time on invisible, highly-caloric food.
That is, and except for, my friend Mandy’s Mincemeat pies. When she first made them a couple years ago I heard declarations and exclamations as to their absolute deliciousness drifting through the party air. Alas, as they contain no chocolate, I didn’t see them. Hours later and deep in my holiday jubilee I was told that I HAD to have one or I would die a very sad person. Funnily enough, I had been told a moment prior that “I would just DIE if I had one”. Quite a pickle…what to do…in the end I cheered everyone one last time and decided to try this invisible and deadly holiday dessert. Oh. My. God. Who knew that chocolate-less Mincemeat could taste so good. I was hooked.
Since the unveiling of these treats, Mandy has been consistently badgered to divulge the recipe. She is a wonderful cook and is always more than willing to share recipes. When asked about a recipe, she will instantly tell you in her delightful British accent that said recipe is “dead easy to make”. She will then rattle off the recipe from the top of her head leaving you breathless and baffled. When your head has cleared you realize that you are still not quite sure what the recipe is. This year, we decided to just take over her kitchen and force her at spatula point to show us how to make these wonderful pies.
I’ve included the recipes for both the Mincemeat and the pie crust at the end of this post. Believe me, you’ve never had Mincemeat like this. It’s not that mealy store bought stuff that you might have tried. It’s full of fruit and flavor and quite a bit of alcohol. And although there is not even a pinch of chocolate, you should really try them.
Don’t worry, you can thank me later.
You can add whatever dried fruit you like. We added cranberries, cherries, pomegranate and a dash of raisins.
The “real” secret ingredients;) We made three different types of Mincemeat which had Grand Marnier, Brandy and Amaretto. They all contained Port as well since that is what is used to cook the fresh cranberries.
Taste testing with some fresh, whipped cream.
Bonus picture–a rare image of the lovely Mandy (on the left) and one of me in front of the camera. Kim and Brenna were the real spatula-wielding culprits behind this kitchen takeover. Great idea ladies!
Cranberry Studded Mincemeat
Makes approximately 600 ml–enough for 50 mince pies.
60 ml Ruby Port
75 g soft dark brown sugar
300 g cranberries
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
75 g dried cherries
75 g dried pomegranates
30 g dried cranberries
1 box of candied cherries
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 clementine/satsuma
25 ml Brandy or Grand Marnier or Amaretto
1/8 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2-15ml tablespoons honey
1. In a large saucepan, dissolve the sugar in the Ruby Port over a gentle heat.
2. Add the fresh cranberries to the saucepan.
3. Add the cinnamon, ginger and cloves, dried fruit, candied cherries and zest and juice of the clementine.
4. Simmer for 20 minutes or until everything looks pulpy and has absorbed most of the liquid in the pan.
5. Take off the heat and, when it has cooled a little, stir in the Brandy (or whatever alcohol you choose), almond and vanilla extracts and honey and beat once more, vociferously, with your wooden spoon to encourage it to turn into a berry-beaded paste.
6. Spoon the mincemeat into sterilized jars.
**You can store in a cool, dry place for up to 1 month. If you add a bit of Brandy on top at this stage helps prevent Mincemeat from going moldy.
Unbelievably easy pie crust
225 g cold butter, diced
350 g plain flour
100 g sugar
pinch of salt
1. Rub the butter into the flour then mix in the sugar and pinch of salt. Combine into a ball. It will be fairly firm like shortbread dough.
2. Taking a walnut-sized amount, press the pastry into individual spots of a mini muffin pan.
3. Spoon the Mincemeat filling into the pies.
4. Bake at 400 for about 20 mins or until crust is golden brown.