Although I admit that I didn't go very traditional. I didn't use the really old-school variety that actually contained lamb or beef and I didn't make the traditional dark, currant-filled mince, either. Instead, I tried Nigella's cranberry mince—because cranberries!
But first, a little glimpse into the history of mincemeat. I mentioned that it was originally made with meat, but according to Why Christmas? it was also oval-shaped to represent the manger that Jesus slept in, the top crust representing his swaddling clothes.
In the UK, mince pies were a status symbol during the Stuart and Georgian times. People would have their pies made into special shapes like crescents, stars, and hearts, and then flaunt them at their Christmas parties. The more lavish the pie looked, the richer you were, because you could afford the best pastry chefs.
According to a custom from the Middle Ages, if you eat a mince pie on each of the Twelve Days of Christmas, you'll have happiness during the next twelve months. Good thing these are minis - this will be a breeze. Here's to a happy Christmas and an even happier new year!
My friend Stacy from Food Lust People Love is joining me for #FridayPieDay again, and she made this Easy Cheesy Salami Tomato Tart; I hope you'll drop by and check it out!
(Almost) Nigella's Cranberry Mince Pies
These mini pastry cases filled with fruity, boozy, ruby red cranberry mince are perfect for your holiday tray...and for popping straight into your mouth.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Keywords: bake dessert nut-free soy-free vegetarian apples cranberries raisins Christmas Thanksgiving pie winter
Ingredients (20-24 bite-sized pies)
- 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
- finely grated zest and juice of 1 clementine
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 2 tablespoons ruby port
- 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons chopped dried apples
- 2 tablespoons chopped prunes
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- pinch of kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon brandy
- 2 drops almond extract
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 9-inch double pie crust recipe or two rolls of storebought pie dough (see note)
Instructionsmake the cranberry mince (yield: 1 1/4 cups):
Combine everything except the last 4 ingredients for the mincemeat in a medium pot over medium heat. Once it starts to boil, turn it down to a gentle simmer. Cook for about 10-12 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed into the fruit, stirring and mashing to break up the cranberries as they begin to pop.
Turn off the heat and stir in the remaining 4 ingredients. Transfer to a jar or bowl and allow to cool. Once cool, put a lid on and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Preheat oven to 425° F. Roll out both halves of dough until they are 1/4-inch thick (or unroll your storebought dough).
Use a 3-inch fluted biscuit cutter to cut 12 rounds out of each half of your pie dough. Line the cups of 2 miniature muffin tins with the dough. Add 1 tablespoon of cranberry mince on top of each piece of dough. Use a small cutter to cut shapes from the remaining dough and top your little pies with them.
Slide muffin tins into oven and bake for 15-17 minutes, or until the crust has started to turn golden and the filling is hot. Let cool for a few minutes before turning them out of the tins.
I took the easy route with some pie dough that I already had in the freezer. You could also make Nigella's pastry, which sounds pretty darn tasty and looks pretty simple to put together.
Join me on the last Friday of each month for pie and crust recipes, techniques, tools of the trade, and other inspiration. For more information and recipes, please check out my #FRIDAYPIEDAY page!