“They dined on mince, and slices of quince
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon.”
Edward Lear, The Owl and the Pussycat
As a vegetarian, I like to imagine that Edward Lear was writing of mincemeat and mince pies, as opposed to ground beef. As we are now in the season of more moonlight, than daylight, I’ve been baking mince pies. This year I made mince pies that are both vegetable suet-based, and alcohol free.
This is my first attempt at making my own mincemeat, and I used a melange of recipes off the internet, including this one from Delia Smith, to come up with the recipe described below. It takes a while to make, but more in waiting for the flavours to combine, as opposed to actually cooking. As such, it’s a good recipe to prepare while you are baking other items.
In an effort to avoid too much rampant consumption over Christmas, and to tread a little more lightly on the earth, I’m a fan of edible Christmas gifts. I’ll be giving both mincemeat, and mince pies as Christmas gifts this year, as well as some other planned goodies, which I’ll be blogging about in the coming weeks.
Here’s the recipe:
110 grams shredded vegetable suet (available from health food stores)
180 grams raisins
120 grams chopped dates
30 grams lemon candied peel
100 grams orange candied peel
180 grams soft dark sugar
Zest and juice of one orange
Zest and juice of one lemon
40 grams almond slivers
One teaspoon ground cinnamon
One teaspoon grated nutmeg
200 grams plain flour
110 grams butter
2-3 tablespoons of cold water
One egg beaten
2-3 tablespoons of caster sugar
Step one: Combine all the mincemeat ingredients in a large bowl. Mix them together thoroughly. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave overnight to allow the flavours to mix together.
Step two: Place the mixture in an oven tray covered with foil and bake for three hours at 120C. As it cools, stir often to ensure the suet coats all of the ingredients.
Step three: Once fully cooled, place the mincemeat in sterilised jars. As this mincemeat is made without alcohol it won’t keep in the cupboard. As such store the mincemeat in the fridge and use within a month.
Step four: To make the pastry, combine the flour, salt, and butter. Need together in a bowl until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add a little water to help the pastry knit together. Roll the pastry into a ball and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Step five: Once the pastry is prepared roll is out. Cut into squares and place the pastry squares into a muffin tray. Cut the edges neatly and re-roll, and set aside to make the pie tops.
Step six: Fill the pies cases with mincemeat, pressing it firmly into each case. Add pie tops in whatever shape you desire. Brush with a lightly beaten egg, and sprinkle a little caster sugar over the top. Cook for 20 minutes at 200C