- Holidays and Celebrations
The Best Christmas Mince Meat Recipe
Easy Christmas Mince Meat and Mince Pie Recipes
I would like to share with you my amazingly easy Christmas mince meat recipe, that is so scrummy that it cannot possibly be just for Christmas.
When I lived in the UK I would have never dreamed of making my own mincemeat. The shops were well stocked with a wide variety of mincemeat, so I would choose a jar and use it to make my own mince pies.
Don't you think that home made mince pies always taste nicer than shop bought ones?
When I moved to Penang in Malaysia we were fortunate that the local Malaysian supemarket shipped in Duchy Original and Waitrose food from the UK, so once again mincemeat was not a problem (as long as you didn't mind it only being available on the third Tuesday in June!!)
Moving to El Salvador however was a whole different experience, and in over two years here I have never seen mincemeat on the supermarket shelves. This came as a surprise, because mincemeat is eaten at Thanksgiving in the US, and we have a Walmart here!
So, being ever resourceful, the first year we were here I made a sizeable batch of mincemeat, that lasted in an airtight container in the fridge for well over eighteen months.
This is our third Year here, and as I had used all my previous batch of mincemeat I decided to make a new supply. Several people have asked me for the recipe, which prompted me to share my extremely easy Christmas mince meat recipe and my equally easy mince pie recipe with you. Finally, if you have mincemeat left from Christmas there are some recipe ideas that you can use all year around.
Just remember......eating mincemeat does not have to be restricted to Christmas......it makes the perfect treat all year around.
What is Christmas Mince Meat?
Today mince pies are a traditional small sweet pie eaten at Christmas time, but that isn't how they started out.
Mince pies can be traced as far back as the 11th Century.
Christian armies who returned to Europe from the Holy Land brought with them exotic spices which included cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg.
They added these spices to minced meat and and made them into a rectangular shaped pie. The spices were said to represent the gold, frankincense and myrhh that the three kinds gave to the baby Jesus and the rectangular shape of the pie represented the manger that he was placed in.
As the years passed the pies gradually changed, first becoming smaller, then round and finally the savoury filling was replaced with a sweet filling made from dried fruits, spices, nuts and suet.
This is the mince pie that millions of people throughout the world know and love as a Christmas delicacy.
Dried fruit - I have not specified what fruit to use in the recipe, so that you can use whatever is easily available.
I used currants, apricots and prunes and the result was delicious. Likewise, if you cannot get mixed peel you could add extra orange and lemon rind and some extra dried fruit.
If you do not want to use brandy or rum, or live in a country where it is not available then orange juice will add some moisture to the mix
- 14 oz (400g) dried fruit
- 8 oz (225g) apples cored peeled and chopped small
- 4 oz (100 g) whole mixed candied peel
- 4 oz (110g) shredded suet (use butter if suet not available)
- 6 oz (175g) brown sugar, (Or whatever sugar is available)
- grated zest and juice 1 orange
- grated zest and juice 1 lemon
- 1 oz (25 g) chopped nuts
- 2 level teaspoons mixed ground spice
- 1/4 level teaspoon ground cinnamon
- good pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- 3 tablespoons brandy or rum
- Put the ingredients, apart from the brandy and butter, into a large mixing bowl.
- Mix everything together thoroughly.
- Place in a plastic airtight container and put in the fridge overnight or for 12 hours.
- Put the chilled ingredients and the butter into a saucepan and heat gently for 30 minutes.
- As it cools, stir occasionally.
- When the mincemeat is thoroughly cold, stir and add the rum or brandy.
- Place in an airtight container and store in the cupboard or fridge - it will easily keep for a year.
The Perfect Storage Container For Mincemeat-Tried & Tested
Lock and Lock make excellent quality plastic storage containers that have a good seal.
Living in the tropics they are my container of choice to keep my food fresh and free from insects.
You do not necessarily need such a high quslity container when storing food in the fridge, but I find that it helps to keep odors out of the food.
Also, I keep my mincemeat for up to two years, so it is really important that it is in a quality container that will not damage the flavor of the food.
More Mince Meat Recipes
Expat Mamasita's Short Crust Pastry Mince Pies
This pastry recipe is the one that I was taught thirty years ago in my Home Economics lessons.
I would have traditionally used half butter and half lard, but as I have not discovered lard (pig fat) here in El Salvador I have got used to just using butter, and am just as pleased with the results.
- 8 oz (200g) plain flour
- 4 oz (100g) butter cut into small pieces
- 2 -3 tbsp / 30-45ml cold water to mix
- Milk (to brush pies)
- Pinch of salt
- Casa Cicak's Mincemeat
- Confectioner's sugar to dust pies (optional)
- Bun tin
- Pastry cutters
- Sieve the flour and salt into a mixing bowl
- Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs
- Add water, a bit at a time until the dough binds together
- Let the pastry rest in a cool place for 15 minutes
- Dust the work top with flour and coat both sides of dough with flour
- Roll out pastry to required thickness.
- Cut out circles of pastry large enough to line the bun tins
- Fill pastry case with about 1 teaspoon of mincemeat
- Brush around the upper edge of the pastry cases with water
- Cut out smaller circles of pastry for the pie tops
- Put pastry tops onto pies and press down the edges
- Brush the pie tops with milk
- Bake in a preheated 400F / 200C/ Gas 6 oven for about 15 minutes
- Cool on a wire rack and dust with icing sugar when cooled (optional)
More Mince Pie Recipes
Non Stick Bun Tin
The most important piece of equipment when you are making mince pies is a good quality bun tin.
You want a tin where the holes are not too deep, as it make it more difficult to line with pastry and produces pies that are more than a festive mouthful.
The shallow bun tin shown here is the one that I prefer to use. The holes are just the right depth and it has a non stick finish. Although pastry has a lot of fat in it, it is still prone to sticking in tins that do not have a non stick finish.