Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tiny Mince Pies

British Store - bought: Mr. Kipling's
"Exceedingly Good Cakes"

American Home - made:

The following recipe is similar to the Frugal Gourmet's recipe, but only half the amount, and without any meat or suet. It might seem labor intensive, but these are really fast, fun, and yummy!

5 or 6 apples, core them but leave the skin on & chop up in food processor (into little bitty squares)

2 1/4 cups (3/4 lb) dark raisins
1 1/2 cups (1/2 lb) currants or golden raisins
3/4 cup (1/4 lb) mixed, candied peel
1 1/2 - 2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup distilled vinegar
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup apple juice
3/4 teaspoon each: allspice, cinnamon, ground cloves, nutmeg

MIX ALL TOGETHER, SIMMER ONE HOUR, COOL, and SPIKE with a bit of brandy or whiskey, as desired.

Cover and leave at room temperature overnight. Make pies the next day, or store the mincemeat for weeks in the refrigerator and use as needed. Makes about 8 dozen small pies or 2 regular-sized pies.

This recipe makes 24 crusts; the food processor can easily handle a doubled batch if you want to make 48 at one time.

Cream all together in the food processor, just until a big dough ball starts to form:

1 stick of butter
3 oz cream cheese
1 cup flour

Divide big dough ball into 24 little balls, and place them into a miniature muffin pan. I have two pans that make 24 each, so I usually make a batch of 48. You do not need to grease each opening. The dough is buttery enough that the finished pies will slip out easily.

With your finger tips or thumb, or with a round - shaped teaspoon dipped in flour each time, make an indentation in each ball and press the dough to fit the muffin cup in the shape of a little pie crust. No fancy edging is required, and don't spread the dough out too thin -- keep the bottom & the sides a bit thick for easier removal and handling!

Then with a small spoon, fill each indentation with mincemeat, and bake at 350 degrees for 20 - 30 minutes.

It's hard not to fill the crusts to overflowing, but this is the only thing that makes the finished pies hard to remove -- if the juice has bubbled out and cooked around the edges. If this happens, loosen the syrupy, crusty overflow with a little plastic knife; let the pies cool a bit and then remove with a rounded butter knife. They should slip right out and be nice and sturdy enough to eat by hand.

For Ben, Sam, and Gerry, a typical serving is 5 or 6 pies at once; so even 4 dozen can disappear quickly! Gerry likes to douse his with room temperature whiskey or sherry. I like to have mine one or two at time with a cup of tea. Then an hour or so later, one or two more with another cup of tea, and so on and so forth throughout the Twelve Days of Christmas! Enjoy!

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