Here in America, mince pies are often thought of as a European holiday tradition. But what are they, really? And more importantly, how do they taste?
Mincemeat Pie. Credit: canva
Let’s talk about how they taste. In general, mince pies are sweet with a slight tartness from the dried fruits. The spices add a bit of warmth and depth of flavor, while the pastry crust provides a buttery, flakey contrast.
If you’re looking for something unique and festive to serve at your holiday party this year, mince pies are definitely worth trying!
Does Mincemeat Pie Need To Be Refrigerated?
Yes, mincemeat pie should be refrigerated after it has been baked.
The refrigeration will help to keep the crust from becoming soggy and will help to preserve the flavor of the pie.
What’s In Mincemeat Pie: The Delicious Holiday Dessert
What’s in mincemeat pie? It is a delicious, traditional holiday dessert that has been passed down in many families for generations. It’s often made with beef suet (butterfat) and dried fruits such as apples, raisins, currants, figs, or dates.
Mince pies can also be made with meat – typically beef or venison – but the British tradition is to make them without any meat.
The meat is chopped finely and mixed with other ingredients like raisins, apples or quinces, and currants. This mixture is then boiled to make a thick paste before being baked in an oven-proof dish, often lined with pastry dough. It can be served hot or cold after it has cooled down completely.
They were eaten by people who could afford them back in the day because they used expensive ingredients, like beef suet, which was expensive back then. Now butter is much more popular due to it being cheaper.
The History of Mincemeat Pie
It is traditionally made with beef, suet, apples, raisins, sugar, lemon juice, and spices in an all-butter pastry crust. Some versions also have nuts like almonds or walnuts added to the filling mix.
The first reference was found in a recipe book from 1430 by William Walwyn who wrote about how his mother would make it every Christmas season or Holiday season as a gift for her friends and family members.
What’s in Mincemeat Pie?
The recipe has been passed down through generations who have been celebrating the holidays in the Northeast.
The crust is made up of butter or shortening to make it flaky and then layered with sugar and flour as well as salt for flavor. It is better to make pies from scratch because they taste so much better than store-bought ones!
Why Is It Called Mincemeat Pie?
They are named as such because traditional recipes included a type of meat known as “mince.” In the olden days, people would have them around Christmas time but they were filled with this kind of meat (known to store poorly), dried fruit, and spices.
Why is Eating Mincemeat Pies Once Illegal in the UK?
It’s not illegal to eat mince pies on Christmas Day in England, but it was back when Oliver Cromwell ruled the land.
When he took over Parliament and became dictator of Britain in 1653, his rules prohibited all sorts of foods including tasty treats like apple pie or beef stew that people had access to for centuries.
This law was made during times when there were more people who were overweight and needed help with dieting. Eating these dishes at any time other than breakfast would be seen as gluttony.
Why Does Mincemeat Have Suet?
You know that suet you put into your mincemeat? The suet is not only used to preserve it for long-term storage, it also adds flavor and acts as a binder. The more suet you mix in with your meat will create a tastier pie.
How to Make Homemade Mincemeat Pie?
The following recipes provide instructions for making from the delicious traditional versions to the vegetarian version at home.
Traditional British Mincemeat Pie Recipe
For the filling:
- 2 cups finely chopped beef suet
- ¾ cup dried currants
- ¾ cup finely chopped rump steak (about 3 oz.)
- ½ cup raisins
- ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp. brandy
- 1½ tsp. chopped candied citron peel
- 1½ tsp. chopped candied lemon peel
- 1½ tsp. chopped candied orange peel
- 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice, plus grated zest of ½ lemon
- ¼ tsp. grated nutmeg
- 1½ Granny Smith apples, cored and finely chopped
For the pie crusts:
- 2¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
- 1 Teaspoon salt (kosher salt recommended)
- 12 Tablespoons butter (cold unsalted butter), cubed
- 6 Tbsp. ice-cold water
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
To make the filling:
- In a medium bowl, combine the beef suet, currants, rump steak, raisins, brown sugar, brandy (or apple cider), candied citrus peels (such as orange or lemon), and zest. Chop up apples and add them to the mixture until it’s moist and chunky. Or just use prepared mincemeat.
- Transfer the mixture into a jar or airtight container, and cover. Refrigerate for at least 2 days and up to 2 weeks.
To make the crust:
- In a bowl, combine the flour, white sugar, and salt. Use either a dough blender or two forks to work in the cold butter, and then the pea-size crumbles will be created.
- Add the water and use your hands to work the dough until it is smooth but with visible flecks of butter.
- Divide the dough into halves and flatten it into disks. Wrap in plastic, refrigerate for at least 1 hour before using
- Remove one of the disks onto a lightly floured work surface, and let it rest until still chilled but pliable.
- To make the dough, lightly flour a wooden rolling pin and roll it out to an ⅛-inch thickness. Rotating often will help prevent sticking.
- Carefully transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie plate, gently pressing against the sides and bottom to fit. Roll out the remaining disk of dough into an ⅛-inch-thick round using the same method.
- The mincemeat pie filling should be poured into the crust and brushed with water on all sides. The pastry lids is placed over the filled pastry shell, folded at the edge, and crimped to seal.
- Cut a few steam vents in the top crust, then refrigerate the pie for 1 hour.
- Heat oven to 350°F. Brush egg wash over all sides of the pie, then put in a preheated oven until golden brown, at about 1-hour intervals.
- Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.