Thursday, November 19, 2009

Meatless, suetless Mincemeat

My father's mother, Nannie was a big mincemeat pie maker. I never developed a taste for it, as the idea of sweet meat was repulsive to me as a child and teenager. But, the history of the mincemeat pie is fascinating as it harkens back to a time before preservatives and refrigeration. Alas, I am afraid the lure of mincemeat may die with my generation, as I have never made it and neither have I ever served it to my sons. But, in poking about for recipes, I have found a recipe where they talk about leaving out the suet---which clogs arteries, and leaving out the meat.

1 pound apples, chopped but unpeeled
12 ounces raisins
8 ounces Zante currants
4 ounces candied orange peel
4 ounces candied lemon peel
4 ounces slivered or chopped almonds, pecans
grated zest and juice of one lemon
12 ounces dark brown sugar
2 and 1/2 teas. ground allspice
1/2 teas nutmeg
1/2 teas. cinnamon
1/2 teas. ginger
4 ounces chopped prunes (optional)
7 Tablespoons brandy

combine everything except the brandy in a bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight. Bake in oven 225 degrees, stirring occassionally, three hours--or I wonder about using a crock pot. Let cool. Stir in brandy. Pack into jars and refrigerate 3 weeks. Make into pies.

Some recipes mix half the brandy in before cooking. Sounds fun, and the little tarts look good, too---round pieces of pie dough used in a muffin pan instead of huge pies of it.

Any mincemeat affectionatoes out there?? Please do not be offended that I am trying to make mincemeat healthy. At my size and age, I need not the meat nor the fat. Suet is for the birdies, and I think venison would be best smoked. I am fascinated, though, by the way my great-great grandmothers preserved food, and made tasty meals with the monotomy of beans, potatoes, and meat kept frozen in winter, or canned.

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