Makes two 9-inch pies
Mincemeat pie is quite an oddity to someone who has never heard of it. I have read that mincemeat originated in Britain. Somewhere along the line, possibly on their migration across Europe to America, the Pennsylvania Dutch adopted it and make the pie often, so often that I thought it must have originated with them. Even though authentic mincemeat contains real meat, it is used in desserts. We lost our family pie recipe a long time ago when my mother started using commercially jarred mincemeat, which contains dried fruits but no meat, as do most current day products and recipes. Since I am not a fan of dried fruits, I never cared for the meatless version of the pie. So, I searched for and found a recipe by Jeff Smith that used meat. With my mother's help, I revised it to what she remembered as my grandmother's traditional mincemeat pie. This takes a bit of work, but it is very good and worth making for a special treat during the Christmas season, which is when it is traditionally served. If you only need one pie, freeze or, as my grandmother used to do, can the remaining half of the filling for a later use. Alternately, you can easily halve the recipe.
- 1-1/4 pounds lean beef stew meat
- 2-3/4 pounds Granny Smith apples, cored and chopped
- 1/3 pound beef suet, coarsely ground
- 3/4 pounds dark raisins
- 1/2 pound dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1/2 pound currants
- 1/2 cup apple juice
- 3/4 teaspoons ground cloves
- 3/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- 3/4 teaspoons ground allspice
- 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup bourbon or rum, divided
- Pastry dough for two double crust pies (see recipe in the related recipes links)
Place stew meat in 2-quart pot; add water to cover. Bring to boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour or until tender. Drain and put through a meat grinder or into a food processor until a coarse grind.
Place the ground meat and the remaining ingredients, using only 1/4 cup of the liquor, in a 4-quart pot. Stir and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook gently for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow to cool. (Can be made several days ahead and refrigerated, or frozen for several months.)
Preheat oven to 375° F. Roll out one-quarter of the pastry dough and place it in a 9-inch pie pan. Place one-half of meat mixture into pie shell. Roll out another quarter of the dough and place on top, crimping it with the bottom crust to seal. Cut a hole in the center of the top crust to allow steam to escape while baking. Repeat with the second pie, or freeze the meat for future use. Bake for 1 hour or until brown and bubbly. Place pie on a cooling rack. Using a funnel, pour in the remaining 1/4 cup bourbon or rum. Tilt pie back and forth to incorporate. Serve warm.
Notes: If, like me, you do not care for raisins, use all currants which are smaller and have a milder flavor. Leftover pie can be tented with foil and reheated in the oven. It can also be microwaved, but the crust will soften.