Homemade mincemeat

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summary: :hohoho: mincemeat recipe (vegetarian); mincemeat made with butter goes wonderfully with ice cream and ginger shortbread; (click on images to see larger views and more photos)

mincemeat on ginger shortbread We have had the same dessert three nights in a row now. I often forego dessert but this is just too good!! And the beauty of it is that it’s small. So there are no feelings of guilt (even though the whole thing is absolutely laced with butter).

When T first made “sweet cream” ice cream, it was right around the same time that I was making ginger shortbread. And I immediately thought of mincemeat. How good would those be together??

T agreed and went ahead and made mincemeat. I still can’t stand him for being so skillful. I told a colleague about the mincemeat success and my colleague hates T too. :-) You too can hate him after you’ve made and tasted his version of mincemeat. He says it couldn’t be simpler to make. Here it is:

:hohoho:T’s Mincemeat:hohoho:
loosely based on SAVEUR magazine’s and Mum’s recipes for mincemeat

Makes about 1 cup

  • ¼ c Thompson raisins
  • ¼ c currants
  • 2 Tbsp dried cranberries
  • 2 Tbsp minced orange peel*
  • ¼ c blanched almonds
  • juice of 1 orange
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 3 – 4 Tbsp brown sugar (demerara)
  • 2 Tbsp minced ginger
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • good shake of powdered cinnamon
  • good shake of powdered cloves
  • good grate of nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • good splash of rum**

preparation

  1. Roughly chop the fruit and nuts and set aside.
  2. Use a knife to carefully remove the peel from the orange. No pith or white, please! Use the knife to mince the peel. (Please do not use a zester or rasp; the peel will be too thin and small.)
  3. Bring sugar, lemon and orange juice to a boil.
  4. Add orange peel and ginger. Boil about 4 minutes. This will candy the ginger and orange peel.
  5. Add butter, fruit, spices and rum. Bring to a simmer then immediately remove from heat.
  6. Taste and adjust spices to your taste.
  7. Place all in a jar and store in fridge for at least 2 days to meld.

Notes:
* edit December 2010: The fruit should be quite coarsely chopped. It’s best to do this by hand. (ie: Do NOT use a food processor) If you are lazy when hand chopping, so much the better. We’ve found that largish chunks of fruit are better.

* Some lemon peel might be nice too. It is essential that there is zero pith in the peel. Any hint of white makes it very bitter tasting.

** Brandy, Scotch, rye whiskey will do if there is no rum in the house.

*** T forgot to add the granny smith apple – maybe it’s not necessary?

**** Add or subtract whatever fruits you have on hand. Next time we’re thinking of adding dried apricot.

mincemeat on ginger shortbread Usually I make all tiny star or bird ginger shortbread cookies. But this year, I got tired of the game as I was punching out tiny star after tiny star. I decided to use the larger star cutter and cut out the centers to make some large cookies that were still “small”. I had no idea at the time that the decision was serendipitous.

If you’ve had it, you know that mincemeat is very rich and a little goes a long way. The large star cookies with the center star cut out are the perfect vehicle for hot mincemeat. A small star set on top is pretty too. Then, gilding the lily, we added “sweet cream” or ginger ice cream (even though ginger is my favourite flavour these days, I prefer “sweet cream” with mincemeat and ginger shortbread). On Christmas night, my sister went back for one more tiny star and a tiny spoonful of mincemeat. She said no to the icecream, saying she wanted to savour the flavours of the shortbread and mincemeat.

With regards to the missing apple, Mum always adds apple sauce to her mincemeat as well. We forgot to buy apple sauce and didn’t have apples on hand to make apple sauce here (it’s dead easy to make apple sauce!). I love Mum’s mincemeat and was worried about the missing apple. No need to worry; I am forced to admit that I love T’s mincemeat equally.

At first, I was thinking it was a shame to have omitted the suet from the recipe. But it turns out that we may be omitting suet every time. Why? There is no resulting gumminess when the hot mincemeat hits the cold icecream. Because, after all, cold butter is just butter. Cold beef fat is, well, cold beef fat – not the most appetizing thing for the 21st century palate.

Last night we had leftovers from Christmas dinner for dinner. Have you noticed that Boxing Day leftover dinner is almost better than Christmas dinner itself? Sometimes I think the only reason we make Christmas dinner is so we can have the leftovers. (Ha. If you had tasted our brilliant dinner on Christmas night, you would have screamed “You’re wrong!!!” after reading that…. :hohoho: :-) :hohoho: )

 

(click on images to see larger views and more photos)
 

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