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Christmas Mincemeat Hand Pies: Two Ways!

Posted by Theology of Home on
Christmas Mincemeat Hand Pies: Two Ways!

By Emily Malloy

Mincemeat pie is a long-treasured recipe during Christmastime. Although the recipe consumed today differs from the one in the past, it is still wonderfully aromatic and contains the right amount of sweetness. The warm spices of wintertime accompany the delicious combination of varieties of dried fruit with a dose of spirits. 

I am so excited to present today two ways of making this fragrant dessert: one that is finished within the course of an hour, another from scratch that permits time for the spices to marinade the fruit over the course of a few days. 

Theology of Home Mincemeat Hand Pie

First, let us take a gander at the history behind this time-honored dish. In the Middle Ages, the dish was mainly meat with very little fruit and served as a main course. As time progressed, any hint of savory gave way to all fruit and the remnant of the Medieval dish made its way onto the dessert plate. There is something inherently beautiful about the continuity of Christmas preparations with the same dish woven throughout many centuries.

Commonly, mincemeat pie is made as a traditional 9.5" round pie or as smaller pies in muffin tins. However, I love the novelty of hand pies. There is less opportunity for the dreaded soggy bottom and hand pies are delightful to hold. 

Theology of Home Mincemeat Hand Pies

Theology of Home Mincemeat Hand Pie

People are often surprised to hear that, despite its name, today's mincemeat pie contains no meat. Most often, however, it calls for beef suet, a particular type of fat that has a low melting point. 

Suet is not as easy to come by any more; some butchers have some available, but not all. Small farms have suet available for purchase online to be delivered to your doorstep. Not all hope is lost if you are unable to procure suet. It can be substituted for vegetable shortening, beef fat, or lard. 

Theology of Home Mincemeat Hand Pie

Mincemeat Hand Pie Theology of Home

One version of mincemeat pie that is featured here involves using a prepared jar of mincemeat filling and giving it a few little extra "somethings" to really make it special. The main draw of this version is its ease. Happily, despite its ease, it still tastes delicious. Often times flavor can be compromised in prepared food items, but products like Nonesuch, easily found in some grocery stores or ordered online, enable a delectable treat. 

The second recipe available below involves making your own mincemeat pie filling. The main benefits of this method are the customizability and the fun anticipation that comes with marinating ingredients for a few days. The difficulty of this dish lies in the wait, as it does not take much time to combine the ingredients and place into the refrigerator. 

Theology of Home Mincemeat Hand Pie

Mincemeat pie has become a well-anticipated and loved Christmas tradition in my home. If it isn't already, I am sure it will become a dessert your family will love for years to come. 

Mincemeat Hand Pies, Two Ways
Yields: 24 hand pies
Time: 1 hour or 3 days

Mincemeat Pie Method #1: Using a Prepared Jar:
Ingredients: 
3 pie crusts, recipe shared below**
27 ounces prepared mincemeat filling, such as Nonesuch
1/4 cup orange zest
2 granny smith apples, shredded
1/4 cup brandy (can be substituted with apple cider)
Water to brush onto dough to seal
Egg wash: 1 lightly beaten large egg and turbinado sugar for sprinkling

Directions: 
1. Preheat the oven to 425*F. Prepare a baking sheet, set aside.
2. Roll out your pie crust dough to 1/8" thickness. Using a 3" round cutter, cut out 24 discs, scoring half of the discs with slits to vent steam while cooking.
3. In a large bowl, stir together the mincemeat filling, zest, apples, and brandy until well combined. 
4. On the discs that haven't been scored, place 2 teaspoons of filling into the center.
5. Taking a pastry brush, brush the edges of all of the discs. Place the dough circles with the slits on top of the discs with filling, gently pressing down on the edges to make a seam. You can crimp the edges with a fork. 
6. Place prepared pies onto your baking sheet (about 9 will fit at a time). Brush with the egg wash and top with turbinado sugar (or sanding sugar). 
7. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned. Allow to cool before serving. Enjoy! 

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Mincemeat Pie Method #2: Making from Scratch: 
Ingredients: 

3 pie crusts, recipe shared below**
1/2 cup each of dried fruit: I used currants, figs, cranberries, and golden raisins 
10 ounces dark brown sugar
2 ounces beef suet/ beef fat/ vegetable shortening/ or lard
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 oranges peeled, sliced
Zest from 1 orange
2 granny smith apples, cored, sliced
1 cup of brandy (can be substituted with apple cider)
Water to brush onto dough to seal
Egg wash: 1 lightly beaten large egg and turbinado sugar for sprinkling

Directions: 
1. Preheat the oven to 425*F. Prepare a baking sheet, set aside.
2. Roll out your pie crust dough to 1/8" thickness. Using a 3" round cutter, cut out 24 discs, scoring half of the discs with slits to vent steam while cooking.
3. In a food processor, combine the fruit, spices, sugar, zest, suet/fat, and brandy. Process on low until well-combined, approximately 1-2 minutes. 
4. On the discs that haven't been scored, place 2 teaspoons of filling into the center.
5. Taking a pastry brush, brush the edges of all of the discs. Place the dough circles with the slits on top of the discs with filling, gently pressing down on the edges to make a seam. You can crimp the edges with a fork. 
6. Place prepared pies onto your baking sheet (about 9 will fit at a time). Brush with the egg wash and top with turbinado sugar (or sanding sugar). 
7. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned. Allow to cool before serving. Enjoy! 

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**For the crust, yields 2 pie crusts--
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 to 3/4 cup ice water

Directions for the crust: 
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
2. Add half of the cubed butter and using your hands, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse sand. 
3. Add the remaining butter cubes and continue rubbing it into the flour mixture, but this time it does not need to be fully incorporated, some little specks of butter makes for a flaky crust. 
4. Add lemon juice and 1/4 cup of ice water, mixing and fluffing the mixture with your hands. When the mixture lightly holds together, you are finished. If it doesn't hold together, add more ice water by the tablespoon. 
5. Separate the dough into two discs and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for an hour before using.
6. When ready to use, lightly flour your work surface and roll until the disc is 2 to 3" wider than your pie dish. Gently lay it into your pie dish and you are ready to go!

Printable Recipe for the Crust can be found here
Printable Recipe for the Mincemeat Pie using PREMADE filling can be found here!
Printable Recipe for the Mincemeat Pie using filling made from SCRATCH can be found here

 

Theology of Home Mincemeat Hand Pies

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