What is Mincemeat?
By mamashighstrung on December 20, 2013
I always eyed mincemeat pies suspiciously when I was a kid. Was it a pie made of meat? Why was it so dark and weird looking? Why wasn’t anyone else eating it?
Then, one Christmas, I ate a mincemeat tart at a fabulous hotel in London. The tart was brimming with brandy infused apples, dried fruit, sugar, nuts and lots and lots of spices. The mincemeat was dense and sweet and tasted, well, very British.
But what exactly is mincemeat? The English (who have a deep history with this recipe), traditionally mix finely chopped beef (minced-meat), beef suet, dried fruit, nuts, candied peel and loads of cloves, allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg and bake it into a tart or a pie.
However, most of the mincemeat pies or tarts you'll find in the supermarket or bakery today leave the meat out. Same with newer recipes. Instead of beef suet, vegetable shortening is substituted. Bourbon or rum is also a popular replacement for the brandy.
In case you’re considering making mincemeat pie (with or without meat) the mincemeat mixture needs to be prepared well in advance so the dried fruit can soften and the deep, rich flavors have a chance to develop.
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