Sunday, January 13, 2013

Pear and Apple Mincemeat

One of the Yuletide goodies I made this year that I had never made before were mincemeat pies. I still had some pears left over, and they were starting to go soft. I also had some apples that had been sitting around too long, and a bunch of half-used bags of dried fruit. I hadn't had mincemeat pie since I was a little kid, and Ball's Complete Book of Home Preserving has a couple of recipes for mincemeat in it.

I decided to go with the recipe for Pear Mincemeat on page 177, since it made less than the Brandied Fruit Mincemeat, and I didn't have enough fruit to make such a big batch. I also had to make some substitutions, though I think it's OK in these kind of recipes as long as I substitute similar things. I didn't have quite enough almonds, so I used some almonds and some pecans. I used some different dried fruit than what they had listed, but kept the total amount of dried fruit the same. I also used about half pears and half Granny Smith apples instead of all pears. That was mainly because I didn't have enough pears, but I also thought the different textures of the pears and apples would be more interesting.

I ended up with four and a half pints. I kept the half-full one in the fridge to use right away.

Next I had to find a recipe for mincemeat pie. The pies I enjoyed as a kid came frozen in a box, baked in the oven by my grandmother on Thanksgiving. I searched for a pie recipe, and found this mincemeat pie recipe from I liked the idea of making little individual pies instead of one big pie, and the stars on top are really cute.

The recipe worked out great, with one minor problem: the crust-to-filling ratio seemed all wrong. I made the crust exactly like it said, except for using brandy instead of water (a trick I just learned to make foolproof tender pie crusts - alcohol inhibits gluten formation!), but it only made enough to make 9 pies, not 24, and I used one and a half pints of mincemeat (the half-full one I had in the fridge, plus another pint jar I opened up), not only one cup like the recipe says.

Turns out it was because I used a standard muffin tin, not a mini muffin tin like the recipe says! Oh well, mine still turned out delicious, so delicious I forgot to take pictures of the finished product! I think I like it better this way, rather than making such tiny tarts. Making it in a standard muffin tin made each one a nice single-serving size. The star cookie cutter I have was just the right size for the top, and 9 single serving size tarts was more than enough for the number of guests I had.

Now I have three more pints of mincemeat for next year.

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