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(Almost) Nigella's Mini Cranberry Mince Pies | #FridayPieDay

(Almost) Nigella's Mini Cranberry Mince Pies
We're having pie for Christmas—it's #FridayPieDay! Can I tell you something? I've never tried a traditional mincemeat pie. I don't know why. It wasn't something I grew up on, and apparently it's just another thing I've been "saving for later" for the twenty-plus years since I started making my own pie. I figured since it's a very traditional Christmas offering (um, in the UK), now would be the perfect time to give it a go.

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 I mentioned that it was originally made with meat, but according to Why Christmas?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.
(Almost) Nigella's Mini Cranberry Mince Pies
Today they are usually made entirely with a boozy fruit mixture, though they often use beef suet in the mix, and are shaped round (aka, like a pie). I love the tradition that children in the UK have of leaving out mince pies with a nip of brandy for Saint Nick, along with a carrot for the reindeer. I wish I'd have known about that when my kids were younger (but I suppose it's never too late to start).

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.
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(Almost) Nigella's Mini Cranberry Mince Pies
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
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)
    for the cranberry mince:
    • 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
    for the pastry:
    make 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.

    make the mini pies:
    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.

    #fridaypieday at - sharing pie on the last Friday of every month.
    Grab a plate and a fork, it's time for PIE! Pull a chair up to the table and help me dive deeper into the wonderful world of pie; from fruit pies to nut pies to cream pies to icebox pies and savory pot pies and skillet pies. Whether it's a traditional round pie, a slab pie, or even a hand pie—it's going to be all about the pie.

    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!

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