I’ve been hesitant to try my hand at homemade mincemeat, and now I’m not sure why. Perhaps it was mention of suet in many recipes (and I haven’t been acquainted with that ingredient since this 2010 post!). Or maybe it was the seemingly endless list of dried fruits to procure. I’m happy to report that I found all the ingredients needed at my local grocery store, and it’s not difficult to make! It’s also SO satisfying to check that item off of my baking bucket list!
No doubt about it, you’ll feel like you’re adding everything but the kitchen sink to the pot for the mincemeat recipe but that’s part of the fun. You can tailor the dried fruits to suit your flavor preferences, which is why my pot of mincemeat got a few extra cranberries. Although this particular recipe may not be completely traditional (suet free) I was well-pleased with the end result. It was eons better than the manufactured pies I’ve been buying at the market.
I looked at several pie crust recipes before settling on a reliable favorite – pate sucree. This sweet pastry dough molds well into mini pie pans and cuts well with a lattice cutter (which might be a nice stocking stuffer for the pie maker in your life).
A little egg wash on top of the pies will make the crust turn golden brown in the oven.
This recipe makes four 5-inch pies, which are the perfect size for two to share (or one very hungry person). You’ll have plenty of mincemeat left over after making these pies, so I recommend putting the filling in 8 oz. jars and gifting it to friends. Or, you may opt to make another run (or two!) of pate sucree for more pies.
Mini Mince Pies with Homemade Mincemeat
Yields four 5-inch pies with one recipe pate sucree
Yields about 4 cups (1 liter) homemade mincemeat
Mincemeat recipe adapted from JoyofBaking.com
Pate sucree recipe is from pastry class
Begin at least one day ahead; the mincemeat needs to stand in the refrigerator overnight so the flavors marry. You’ll need four 5-inch pie pans for this recipe, or you may choose to make one large 9-inch pie instead. I used a lattice cutter for the top crust, but if you don’t have one you can cut strips of dough for a traditional lattice top.
1/4 cup (55g) unsalted butter
1 cup (240ml) cranberry juice
2 large Granny Smith apples, grated
1/2 cup (90g) finely chopped dried figs
1/2 cup (90g) chopped dried dates
1/2 cup (70g) dried cranberries
3/4 cup (120g) mixed candied citrus
1/2 cup (100g) chopped candied cherries
1/2 cup (90g) raisins
Zest of one orange
2/3 cup (140g) light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (80ml) rum, plus 2 tablespoons more
1/3 cup (80ml) brandy, plus 2 tablespoons more
Place all of the ingredients in a large Dutch oven, except for 2 tablespoons rum and 2 tablespoons brandy. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Simmer the mincemeat stirring often for about 30 minutes. At the end of 30 minutes, the liquid should almost be completely evaporated. Remove from the heat and stir in the 2 tablespoons each of rum and brandy. Let the mincemeat cool completely and then transfer to a covered container and place in the refrigerator. Let it stand overnight before using in the pie recipe. Mincemeat can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to a month.
Note: If storing for longer than one week, stir a little rum or brandy in every week to keep it from drying out and to preserve the mincemeat.
2 cups (10oz/284g) all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
7/8 cup (14 tablespoons/198g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1/2 cup (3.5 oz./100g) fine granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, slightly beaten
Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor, pulse to combine. Add the cubed butter on top of the flour and pulse repeatedly in short bursts until the mixture looks crumbly. Add the vanilla and egg and pulse until the mixture forms a ball to one side of the bowl. Remove the dough and flatten into a circle. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 30 minutes before use.
For the pies
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp. water)
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Roll the dough on a lightly floured work surface using a floured rolling pin. Cut 7-inch rounds from the dough and fit the rounds inside the pie tins. Fill each pie with mincemeat. Gather the dough and re-roll to 1/4-inch thickness. Use a lattice cutter to cut the pastry, dust the pastry intermittently with flour so that the lattice design doesn’t stick together. Cut a piece of pastry to fit the top of each pie, using a bench scraper or spatula to lift the lattice top onto the pie. Press the top edge of the lattice crusts down onto the pies and cut away the excess. Brush pies with egg wash. Bake the pies for 12-15 minutes, or until the pastry turns golden brown. Let pies cool before serving.