Category Archives: Mincemeat

Making Mincemeat

Not many people make real mincemeat anymore. I think it’s high time we turned that trend around! Meat gives mincemeat a superior texture and flavor, not to mention a satisfying historical frisson that really completes the experience. Start by cooking your ground beef.

Drain it of excess fat, cool it, then place it in the bowl of a food processor.

Pulse it a few times until the pieces are quite small. Don’t go much beyond this point, since you don’t want a cooked meat paste.

The same goes with the dried fruit. If the blades of you food processor are reasonably sharp, you can take your currants for a spin in there.

But only about to here.

Same with the raisins.

With your meat and fruit chopped, place everything save the spices and brandy in a pot. Apples…cider…ah, this stuff really has the taste of Autumn in it.

Give it a good stir…

…and cook about two hours to this point:

Take the mincemeat off the heat, then add the spices and brandy.

Stir it all together, let it cool completely and refrigerate it. Once it’s chilled overnight, feel free to remove any fat that might have collected on the surface of the mixture. I let mine mellow in the fridge for about a week before I either bake it into pies or freeze it until the holidays. You may do with yours as you wish!

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Mincemeat Recipe

This is close to the classic Fannie Farmer recipe from The Boston Cooking School Cookbook. The original has too high a proportion of apples in my opinion, but if you want the original recipe, double the apples. I’ve also changed the processes a little, since the original called for boiling the beef. Ground beef, cooked in a pan and drained, will work just fine for our purposes (and will retain more of the beef’s flavor). This is for a small quantity, but it can be scaled up to your heart’s content!

1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 lb. suet
1 lb. apples (Macintosh or Granny Smith)
1 quince (omit if you can’t find any, make it up with more apple)
12 ounces sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 pint cider
1 lb. raisins
12 ounces currants
2 ounces candied citron
1 cup brandy
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 nutmeg, grated
1/2 teaspoon pepper
salt to taste

The idea here is to reduce all the components to as great an extent as possible, but without turning them to paste. That said, a food processor can be used for some things but not others. The beef can be cooked, drained and cooled, then pulsed in the food processor to small pieces. Not so with the suet, which must be scraped into strings with a knife, then chopped (I’ll show you that in the tutorial). Depending on how sharp the blades are on your food processor, you might be able to pulse the raisins and the currants to chop them, but odds are you’ll have to do the job by hand as well.

With everything finely chopped, combine all but the spices and brandy in a pot big enough to hold everything. Bring it to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer it for 2 hours. Allow the mixture to cool, then stir in the brandy and spices. Store in the refrigerator for a week or more, but freeze it if you plan on keeping it for several weeks or months.

Filed under:  Mincemeat, Pastry | 11 Comments