I love a mince pie. Any which way will do. I have made and eaten a lot this week all in the name of research (otherwise known as greed). I have made them with a frangipane topping, mini ones, gluten free ones and then with my Cranberry and Cointreau mincemeat which I posted about a few weeks ago. They were all delicious.
But it’s this mince pie I have been looking forward to the most as it is something I have never tried before. For some reason we balk when we hear about mince pies with real beef mince but thinking about it I have no idea why. We eat sweet chutneys with meat all the time. In the words of Joey, what’s not to like? Pastry good. Brandied fruits good. Beef gooood. And as it turns out, together, really good.
This mincemeat is so great as it eschews an abundance of sweetness, instead the beef mince adds a wonderful soft texture which is molten in with the rest of the ingredients. So, rather than just thinking, right now I’m eating a bit of beef and it’s not too bad, you wouldn’t even realise there was meat in it unless told. Which you must do as the veggies get annoyed.
There are two very fine ladies I turned to for this recipe, Delia Smith and Mrs Beeton, two Great British institutions. It wouldn’t be Christmas without either in this house. I took advice from both of them regarding mincemeat and ran with it, adding a few twists and turns along the way.
1 bramley apple, peeled, cored and diced
1 cox apple, peeled, cored and diced
200g beef suet (get your suet from the butcher if you need it gluten-free)
200g raw beef mince
100g natural glace cherries, diced
100g pitted prunes, diced
300g dark brown sugar
grated zest and juice of 1 orange
grated zest and juice of ½ red grapefruit
grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
50g whole almonds, slivered
4 tsp mixed ground spice
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Stir everything together and jar. My perfect recipe. You should wait about 2 weeks before using.
I used just a standard sweet pastry recipe to make these pies and they were wonderful.