Mincemeat pie gets a bad rap; I think the name doesn’t help it out any. However, it’s a long held Thanksgiving tradition for my family. My dad would be heartbroken if it weren’t on the menu. Back in the day I would assist my mom in baking that pie, which usually consisted of snapping open the can of mincemeat, lopping it into a prepared piecrust and cooking until bubbly and brown — ok, maybe I can see where that bad rap comes from.
I stand here today a little bit older and a little more discriminating asking you to give mincemeat a try. This homemade version in particular is worthy of praise, and even though it may go against tradition, there is nary a morsel of meat or even bullion in the mix. Fresh and dried fruit, nuts, brandy, honey and good pinch of salt make for a super flavorful pie.
Every year, we serve mincemeat, apple and pumpkin pie after Thanksgiving dinner. If you want to taste something truly delicious — serve up a slice of mincemeat, pumpkin and whipped cream. What the pumpkin lacks in texture and flavor the mincemeat makes up in crunch and zip. I dip my fork into a little pumpkin, a little whipped cream and a little mincemeat and it’s a beautiful turkey day union on a fork.
This is my first time writing down my recipe that I’ve been making for years. Perhaps you’ll take a leap of faith and add it to your holiday table. I made it as a tart here, but feel free to make it as a pie. I’ve provided a tart crust that I love or you can use Elizabeth’s Perfect Pie Crust recipe.
Makes one tart or pie
½ cup currants
½ cup golden raisins
¼ cup dried figs (Turkish Smyrian)
1 Granny Smith apple, small dice
1 Pink Lady apple, small dice
1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
3 tablespoons brandy
2 tablespoons honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ tsp clove
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Mix all the ingredients together and cover. Place in fridge for two hours and then get to work making and chilling your tart crust.
Tart Crust and Assembly
Makes one top and bottom
This pastry is so versatile and bakes up beautifully, both in a free form tart – like a galette or to use for the tart pans with the removable bottom. Elizabeth taught me this technique and it makes working with pie dough so easy.
1 ½ sticks of butter, cut in small cubes and then placed in the freezer
2 ½ cups of flour
¼ tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup ice water
1 egg yolk
Add the flour, sugar, and salt to a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse 5 times to incorporate. Add the butter and pulse 5 times. Next add the water and pulse about 10 times to incorporate. Shake the machine (if you can) to move the mixture around in the bowl of the processor (do not over-mix). It should look mealy but not come together in a ball.
Lay out two large sheets of plastic wrap and divide the dough into piles on each– I usually make on slightly larger to fully cover the bottom tart. The dough will be loose and grainy, but if you squeeze it together with your fingertips, it should come together easily.
Moving quickly, slide your hands under the plastic wrap, then squeeze and press the mixture together. Then rotate the plastic wrap 90 degrees and do it again. Continue to work the dough until it comes together in one piece, pressing it together about 5 times (be careful not to overwork the dough). Then fold the plastic over the dough so it seals the dough in, kind of like you’re wrapping a present.
Using your rolling pin, roll over the dough in the plastic wrap to flatten and form it into disks. You will see coin-sized butter marks in the dough and that is what you want. Those butter pieces will keep the crust flaky. Also, keeping the dough in the freezer or fridge after rolling and shaping keeps it flaky as well. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes to two hours.
Preheat oven 375 degrees
After the dough has chilled, remove the larger of the two disks and roll it out on a cool, lightly floured surface into the desired shape. I fold any edges over so the crust has a nice edge. After you have it shaped into the pan prick the bottom with a fork and place the prepared tart crust back in the freezer while you roll out the top. Grab the remaining disk in the fridge and roll that out for the top. Pull the tart crust back out of the freezer and pour the mincemeat in evenly into the pie. Place the dough top and press the top onto the sides so that the top of the bottom crust and the top of the top crust become one. Make desired design of vent holes on the top and place on a cookie sheet.
Beat the egg yolk and bush over the top of the crust. Sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of sanding sugar or raw sugar over the top and bake 30 minutes then turn 180 degrees and bake an additional 20 -25 minutes.
Serve with whipped cream.