With Christmas fast approaching who can resist a Mince Pie? I just love the smell of them baking in the oven and then sitting watching a good Christmas Movie and eating Christmas Pies and drinking hot mulled wine. Living here in Turkey it’s very hard to get your hands on a jar of Mincemeat or find Mince Pies for sale. Don’t worry you can make your own Mincemeat and Mince Pies and it easier than you may think.
My Mincemeat Recipe came about the first year I came to live in Turkey and I have been making a Jar every year. I don’t use suet so its perfect for vegetarians and I don’t use alcohol. I also make my own mix peeled.
The ingredients are flexible so add what you like into your mix or take out what you don’t like. Some people like to use pears and add in nuts or glaze cherries. Also adding cranberries which you can find here dried add a nice flavour.
Ingredients for Mincemeat
- 250g raisins
- 375g currants
- zest of 1 lemon
- zest of 1 Orange
- 250g dark brown sugar or light Brown Sugar
- 85g chopped mixed peel (see recipe below for making your own)
- 1 large apple
- juice of ½ Lemon
- juice of 1 orange or 100 ml Brandy
- 1/2 tsp mixed spice
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ small nutmeg, grated
Feel free to add in Suet if you have some. A tip I found is if you freeze some butter then grate it and add to some of the mincemeat before baking it works as well as Suet. I don’t bother with either and just baking them without, I am yet to notice any difference.
In a pot, dissolve our sugar, lemon juice and orange juice over a low heat. Grate your apple and add ot the sugar mix, add in the rasins, currents and mixed peel with your grated lemon and orange zest.
Now add in your spices and simmer for 30 minutes.
Once ready pour into sterilised jars and seal. Once open keep your Mincemeat in the fridge.
If your adding in Brandy allow the mix to cool slightly then add in your Brandy before adding to Jars.
I cook my mix purely because I am not using alcohol and then store it in the fridge, I still have half a jar left form last year and its still perfectly fine and will use it for my first batch of pies this year.
Mixed Peel Recipe
Mixed peel is just candied lemon Rind and Orange Rind, its very simple to make your own and tastes even better than shop bought.
1 1/2 cups sugar
The Mixed Peel will last for a couple of weeks in the fridge so don’t make to much at one time.
You can use which ever citrus fruits you like or example try adding in Grapefruit.
You want to peel your fruit leaving some of the pith (white part) if you like a more bitter taste leave more of the pith. Now cut your peel into smalls pieces or leave them whole if you prefer. For my mincemeat recipe I prefer them fairly small.
Now place your prepared fruit into a sauce pan and cover with water, bring to a boil and allow to simmer for approx 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain the water off. You want repeat this step another 2 times. Don’t drain the water on the last time, but add in 1 1/2 cup of sugar, stir well and let it simmer for a while until the peels turn translucent. This may take any time between 30mins to an hour or more so don’t worry if it takes a little time.
Once ready and to your liking store in a sterile air tight jar in the fridge or use immediately.
Recipe for Mince Pies
Everyone has there own favourtie Mince Pie casing. Here in Turkey you can squares of puff pastry which can be used or you can even use the Borek Sheets and spread one with Mincemeat and roll up and bake to make a nice filo/Mince Pie type treat.
But Christmas for me is tradition and for me nothing beats a sweet shortcrust pastry with lots of delicious home-made Mince Pie filling.
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry Recipe
8oz Plain Flour
1 ½ oz Butter
1 oz White Sugar
¼ pint Milk
Put your flour in a bowl and rub in the butter until it resembles find breadcrumbs and then stir in your sugar.
Boil your milk and add to the flour mix and knead until smooth. Roll out and use immediately.
(This is a recipe I learned from Mrs Beaton and has never failed me yet!)
Use a pie tin either 12 or 6 holes. Lightly grease using butter.
Set your oven to preheat at 200C/400F/Gas 6.
To Make your Mince Pies
Roll out your pastry till its fairly thin and then cut out 12 or 6 large circles to fit your pie tray. Place these inside the pie tray holes and add about a teaspoon or Mincemeat.
Roll out your pastry again if needed and then cut out 12 smaller circles or you can cut out star shapes if you prefer and use these as lids placing them over the top of your mincemeat.
If you don’t have a pastry cutter try using different sizes of glasses as cutters.
If you are totally covering your pies remember to cut a little slit in the top. Then brush with Milk and place in the oven bake them for around 20 minutes or until golden.
Take out the oven and cool on a cooling rack and then either dust with Icing Sugar or Castor Sugar.
Merry Christmas Everyone 🙂
© 2013 – 2015, Kerry Arslan. All rights reserved.