Mincemeat pies are sweet pies or tarts popular in the European nations, particularly Britain, in the winter time.
Being sweet, they do not contain meat, as the name may suggest. But the secret ingredient, which you may never-ever guess, and gives the mince pies their je-ne-sais-quoi is shredded lamb or beef fat along with the currants, sultanas, almonds, ginger, and the rest.
Mostly, the mincemeat mixture is sold ready made in jars.
I picked up the recipe from an English blog a couple of years ago, and it is just right to make two dozen mini pies using one batch of puff pastry.
1 cup currants
3/4 cup sultanas
1/3 cup blanched almonds, finely chopped
1 knob of preserved stem ginger, finely chopped
1 apple, grated
1/2 cup (50g) of shredded beef or lamb fat
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
finely grated zest and juice of one lemon
2 Tbsp orange or apple juice
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 batch puff pastry
1 egg, to brush
powdered sugar, for sprinkling
Combine all the ingredients except the puff pastry and the egg in a bowl and set aside for at least 12 hours to macerate.
Preheat oven to 400F.
Cut a third off your chilled puff pastry dough and reserve it in the freezer to make the tops later.
Roll the remaining dough about a centimeter thick, and using a cutter or an inverted cup, cut out 24 circles.
Place the circles in cupcake molds and top with a heaping teaspoon of the macerated mincemeat.
Roll the reserved puff pastry to the same thickness and cut out 24 stars.
Top the mini pies with the stars.
Brush the stars with a beaten egg, then bake for about 20 minutes until slightly bubbling and golden on the top and sides.
Allow to cool a bit before serving warm or cold, preferable sprinkled with some powdered sugar.
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