Some traditions may seem weird. Italians give oranges for Christmas, while waiting for witch called la Befana to pass judgement on the past year. We wait for St Nick. The Chinese light firecrackers getting ready for new years. But none may seem stranger than a mince meat pie for dessert.
Don’t turn the page yet. This British tradition dates back to the 17th century. Over the years it has changed quite a bit. The mince meat is actually a mix of fruits — dried and other wise. The three recipes below scream the holidays at our house. I hope it makes a splash at yours.
the queen’s mince tart
This is my great-grandmother’s recipe. The mince is very detailed but you can also go out and buy a premade mince from the grocery store. You might want to macerate them in a bit of rum. It will add a bit of a kick.
2 1/2 lb apples, peeled, cored, chopped
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped pitted prunes
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried currants
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup medium maple syrup
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup dark rum
1/4 cup brandy
1 tbsp grated orange peel
Zest from 1 lemon
Pinch of salt
2 pie crust disks
1. Combine first 17 ingredients in heavy large saucepan. Cook over a low heat until apples are very tender and mixture is thick, stirring occasionally, about 1 1/2 hours.
Cool filling completely. (Can be prepared up to 1 week ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
2. Position rack in lowest third of oven and preheat to 400°F. Roll out 1 pie crust disk on lightly floured surface to 13-inch-diameter round (about 1/8 inch thick).
3. Roll up dough on rolling pin and transfer to 9-inch-diameter pie plate. Glass is best. Gently press into place. Trim edges of crust, leaving 3/4-inch overhang.
4. Fold overhang under crust so that crust is flush with edge of pie pan. Crimp edges with fork to make decorative border. Spoon filling into crustlined pan, gently pressing flat.
5. Roll out second disk on lightly floured surface to 13-inch round. Cut out about 28 three-inch leaves using cookie cutter. Press leaves lightly with tines of fork to form vein pattern. Brush bottom of 1 leaf with some milk.
6. Place leaf atop mince, overlapping crust slightly and pressing to adhere to crust. Continue placing leaves atop pie in concentric circles, overlapping edges slightly until top of pie is covered. Brush crust with milk. Bake until crust is golden brown and mince bubbles, about 40 minutes. Cool completely.
You may want to pour a glass of rum or Icewine with your mince tart. But for the ultimate match try the hot buttered rum recipe below. You’ll be happy.
old fashioned hot buttered rum
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter
2 cups vanilla ice cream
Rum (dark preferred)
1. Combine sugar, butter and brown sugar in a saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted (6 to 8 min).
2. Combine cooked mixture with ice cream in a large mixing bowl, and beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often until smooth (1 to 2 min). Store refrigerated up to 2 weeks or frozen up to one month.
3. For each serving, fill 1/4 of a mug with mixture, add 1 ounce of rum and 1/2 cup of boiling water. Sprinkle with nutmeg.
rum butter sauce
This sauce is a great add on to the mince pie. The run will cut some of the sweetness in the pie.
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup light rum
1/2 cup half and half
In a saucepan, combine sugar, butter, rum and cream. Heat over low heat, stirring occasionally until hot. Makes about 1 3/4 cups. Increase proportions for more sauce. Serve hot over apple cake and top with whipped cream if desired.