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Taking the mystery out of mincemeat

November 23, 2010
By Mary Ann Menendez - Special to the EDN

Of Christmases not so long ago, the older generation of women would most likely make a dish called mince pie or mincemeat pie. It takes a special set of taste buds to enjoy this fare.

Mincemeat is a mixture of chopped dried fruit, distilled spirits and spices, and sometimes beef suet, beef, or venison. Originally, mincemeat always contained meat Recipes of today contain beef suet, though vegetable shortening is sometimes used in its place. Variations of mincemeat are found in Australia, Brittany, Canada, northern Europe, Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

According to whatscookingamerica.net. "Mincemeat developed as a way of preserving meat without salting or smoking some 500 years ago in England, where mince pies are still considered an essential accompaniment to holiday dinners just like the traditional plum pudding. This pie is a remnant of a medieval tradition of spiced meat dishes, usually minced mutton, that have survived because of its association with Christmas. These pies have also been known as Christmas Pies. Mince pie as part of the Christmas table had long been an English custom. As fruits and spices became more plentiful in the 17th century, the spiciness of the pies increased accordingly."

An early Christmas tradition is tied to the Crusaders returning with spices from the Holy Land. Going into the Christmas pie were cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to represent the three gifts of the Wise men (gold, frankincense and myrrh).

Some British tidbits include:

n 1413 - King Henry V of England served a mincemeat pie at his coronation in 1413. King Henry VIII liked his Christmas pie to be a main-dish pie filled with mincemeat.

n 1657 - Oliver Cromwell detested Christmas and his Puritan Council abolished Christmas on December 22, 1657. "In London, soldiers were ordered to go round the streets and take, by force if necessary, food being cooked for a Christmas celebration. The smell of a goose being cooked could bring trouble. Cromwell considered pies as a guilty, forbidden pleasure." The traditional mincemeat pie was banned until 1660 when King Charles II was seated on the throne of England.

n 17th-18th Centuries - Mince pies, sometimes known as shred or secrets pies, were made in eccentric shapes to hide that they were actually mince pies which were banned during the English Christmas celebration in England.

1659 - In 1659, Oliver Cromwell's Puritan influence reached the American British Colonies, and many residents in the new land adopted the ban on mincemeat pies at Christmas time. "Christmas was actually banned in Boston from 1659 to 1681. Those celebrating it were fined."

Whether you are a mincemeat aficionado or not, let's count our blessings at this time of year that the celebrations of this season that we have come to know and enjoy are still with us. When sitting at this Thanksgiving feast this year, ,let's take some time to ask God's blessings for the many American guardians soldiers, sailors, marines and aviators who are far from home getting the job done so that the rest of us can enjoy all of our freedoms not just for today, but for always.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Homemade Mincemeat

1 pound ground beef (browned)

2 pounds cooked apples (finely chopped)

1 cup currants

1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 1/2 cups raisins

2 cups apple cider

1/2 cup beef broth

1 teaspoon ground cloves

Mix all of the ingredients in a large pot and simmer 1 hour, stirring often. Add 3 tablespoons lemon juice after cooking mincemeat. Cool and refrigerate. Recipe makes enough filling for two 2 crust pies.

Mincemeat & Apple Pie

1 jar (1 lb.) prepared mincemeat

2 cup canned applesauce

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon lemon rind

Pastry for 9 inch double crust pie

1 tablespoon butter

Combine mincemeat, applesauce, brown sugar, lemon juice and rind. Mix well. Roll out half of pastry and line 9 inch pie pan. Pour in applesauce-mincemeat mixture. Dot with butter. Roll out remainder of pastry. Cut in strips and arrange lattice fashion over filling. Trim and flute pastry to make standing edge. Bake at 425 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or cold.

Mincemeat Cheesecake

1 (10 inch) baked pastry shell

1 cup prepared mincemeat

1/2 cup walnuts

1/2 cup sugar

1 (8 ounces) carton low-fat sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

12 ounces low-fat cream cheese, softened

2 eggs

1 tablespoon milk

2 tablespoons sugar

Prepare pastry shell, bake. Combine mincemeat and walnuts; spread evenly in cooled pastry. In large bowl, beat eggs, cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar and milk until smooth. Pour over mincemeat; spread evenly. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until set. Stir together sour cream, the 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Spread over top of baked pie and bake 5 minutes more. Cool slightly, and then chill at least 6 hours.

Mincemeat Bars

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

2 eggs

2 tablespoons molasses

1 tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon cloves

3 tablespoons hot water

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup slivered almonds

1 pack (9 ounces) mincemeat

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix brown sugar, eggs, molasses, butter and vanilla. Blend flour, salt, soda and spices; stir in. Mix in hot water. Stir in raisins, almonds and mincemeat. Spread dough thin in greased oblong pans. Bake 12-15 minutes. Spread immediately with mixture of confectioners' sugar, milk and flavorings. Cut into 2 inch bars.

Glaze:

3 tablespoons hot milk

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups confectioners' sugar

Blend sugar with hot milk until consistency is smooth. Add flavorings and mix well. Spoon over bars.

Mincemeat Cookies

1 cup shortening

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups mincemeat

Mix sugar and shortening until well blended. Add eggs and beat until mixture is smooth. Combine dry ingredients with cream mixture gradually. Stir in mincemeat. Drop by spoonful on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

Mincemeat Centers

1/2 pound butter, softened

1 (8 ounces) low-fat cream cheese, softened

3 cups sifted flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup mincemeat

Combine butter and cream cheese in large mixer bowl. Blend well. Combine flour, sugar and salt. Add gradually to butter and cream cheese mixture, blending thoroughly. Chill dough for several hours. Divide dough into 4 parts, on a floured board; roll out one part of dough at a time to one-eighth-inch thick. Cut with 3-inch floured round cookie cutter. Place half the rounds on a greased cookie sheet. Spoon a teaspoon or so of mincemeat into center of each round. Brush edges of cookie lightly with water. Top with another round of dough. Seal edges by pressing together with a floured fork. Repeat with rest of dough. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on wire rack. Makes about 3 dozen.

Mincemeat Quick Bread

1 1/2 cups sifted flour

3/4 cup sugar

2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, beaten slightly

3 tablespoons shortening, melted, cooled

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/3 cups mincemeat

2/3 cup chopped pecans

Grease 9x5 inch loaf pan; preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In medium bowl, mix eggs, shortening and vanilla. Mix in mincemeat and nuts. Pour egg mixture into dry mixture, stir only until all moist. Pour into loaf pan; bake about 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in center of bread. Cool 10 minutes in pan. Remove bread and cool on rack.

Mincemeat Muffins

1 and 1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

Blend and add:

2 eggs

1/2 cup orange juice

1 cup mincemeat

Combine flour, baking powder, brown sugar and salt. Beat eggs; add to mixture. Stir in orange juice. Spoon batter into a greased muffin pan, and bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Makes about 1 dozen.

Merry Mincemeat & Pumpkin Cake

4 eggs

2 cups sugar

1 cup oil

1 cup pumpkin

1 cup mincemeat

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup walnuts, chopped

1 ounce brandy

Beat first four ingredients until creamy. Add fourth and fifth ingredients and beat well. Sift the dry ingredients together and add to mixture and beat.

Add nuts and brandy and mix well. Pour into greased Bundt pan or 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes (vary time according to pan size).

Topping:

1/4 cup butter

4 ounces cream cheese

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 box confectioner's sugar

Blend and spread over warm cake.

Mock Mincemeat Dessert

1 1/2 cups dates, pitted and diced

2 large apples, pared and diced

1 cup water

1 teaspoon grated fresh orange rind

Few drops almond extract

1 1/2 cups raisins

1/2 cup crushed pineapple

1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all ingredients together except flavorings. Cook until thickened and then add flavoring. Put in unbaked pie shell and cover with top crust. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 325 degrees and cook 50 minutes or until crust is thoroughly done.

Mincemeat Coffeecake

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel

4 eggs

3 cup flour

2 cups mincemeat

2/3 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons orange juice

Beat together sugar and butter until creamy. Beat in vanilla, baking powder and orange peel. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in flour. Spread two-thirds batter on a greased jelly roll pan 10 x 15 inch. Spread mincemeat on top of batter. Drop remaining batter onto mincemeat, making 15 dollops. Sprinkle chopped nuts over all. Bake in a 350 degree oven 35-40 minutes, or until tester comes out clean. Stir together powdered sugar and orange juice and drizzle over cake while still warm. Cut in squares and serve warm. May be mixed ahead and stored, unbaked, in refrigerator overnight. Add 10 minutes to the baking time in the morning.

Mincemeat Slices

3/4 cup shortening

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg, beaten

2 1/2 cups sifted flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup mincemeat

1/2 cup chopped nuts

Cream together shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs; mix well. Sift together flour, soda, salt and cinnamon. Fold gradually into creamed mixture alternately with mincemeat. Add nuts. Mix into a stiff dough; form into rolls. Wrap in wax paper and store in refrigerator. Slice 1/4-inch thick and bake on ungreased cookie sheet in medium 375 degrees for about 15 minutes. Makes 7 dozen.

Mincemeat Crisp

4 cups thinly sliced apples

1 cup prepared mincemeat

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup chopped dates

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/3 cup cranberry juice

1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

Spread half of the apple slices in a buttered 9-inch square baking dish. Combine mincemeat, chopped nuts, dates, and chocolate chips. Spread mixture over apples then top with the remaining apples and pour cranberry juice over all. In a bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and butter, mixing with fingertips until crumbly. Sprinkle over mixture in baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 to 60 minutes, or until apples are tender. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream. Serves 6.

 
 
 

 

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