Monday, November 24, 2008

Mince Meat Pie For Thanksgiving

For years I have wanted to try making mince meat pie. The smell of the ingredients cooking in Mother's kitchen has been one I have remembered well. I always wondered if I fantasized over that smell, just a little. So, this was my year to give mince meat a try. I halved the recipe, used an "imitation suet", in other words it wasn't the hard fat that suet normally is, but rather a mixture of a little fat and a very little beef (the butcher at Albertson's was more than happy to help me out. He just needed a little advance notice.), and then I used hardly any in the recipe. If Mother had only owned a food processor (of course they didn't exist way back then) the process would have been so much easier for her. As this strange mixture was heating up, I caught a whiff of the familiar smell I remembered from years ago, and it was as delightful now as way back then. I don't know if anyone else at my house will eat a piece of Mince Meat Pie, so I will only make a small pie, and freeze the rest of the filling for something later down the road.

Since I can't put any of this in the mail, I just wanted to report that the experiment was successful. If you would like a piece of pie, please stop by.

Mince Meat for Pie
4 lbs of lean boiled beef chopped fine (I cooked it in the slow cooker until it was fall apart done, then used the food processor to chop it)

(With Mother's recipe only including the list of ingredients, I went on a hunt for more explicit instructions from my older sisters - I didn't mean to be discriminatory, but I guess I was. I should have called Dwight and Steve to see what they remembered - sorry guys. I called Elizabeth, who suggested looking on the internet, I called Judy, who wanted to know if I was really going to make mincemeat, but she did check her Farm Journal Cookbook to see what was there - or was that Elizabeth - and I called Louise who said she only remembered Mother cooking it in a pot. The consistent comment from all three was something about how they could get some when I was done. So much for checking with the experts!)

After the beef is prepared, I mixed all of the following ingredients in a big pot and cooked it for awhile (I am one of my Mother's daughters - my instructions aren't much better than hers.).
1 lb suet (I didn't use even a half pound and I wonder if it could be eliminated completely. I wanted the real thing so I didn't go that far in my experiment this time.)
8 lbs fresh green apples (I chopped them in the food processor before adding to the mixture)
2 lbs raisins (I chopped the raisins in the food processor, as well)
2 lbs currants
1/2 lb citron & lemon peel cut fine ( chopped in food processor)
2 lb sugar (used half brown and half white sugar and did not put as much sugar in as suggested)
1 T salt
1 t pepper
1 t allspice
1t mace
1t cloves
2 t cinnamon
(1 lb. dried fruit 6 lb fresh)
Cider enough to make a batter. (Just what does this mean?? I took my best shot at what a batter should look like in this case. Remember the movie, "State Fair"?) Heat it thru and when cold add 1/2 pt brandy. (Just so you know, I did not use any brandy)
Fruit juices may be used in place of cider.


Judy said...

Now I want a piece of pie more than ever. How do you have time for this now that you have kids at your house? This is so well written that I feel like I had the experience personally. Now I don't have to make my own.

Shannon said...

Did Grandma add the brandy???

Elizabeth said...

We never had brandy. I don't remember Mother making mince meat - I just remember going to the butcher's at Sawyer's with her when she got the suet. (My recipe, not Mother's, calls for 10 cents worth of suet.) And I remember eating the pie. Love mince meat pie - wish we could jump the 145 miles to your house to sample it. Happy Thanksgiving!

Steve Blood said...

Darn, I thought I'd be the first to try this again. Oh well, I guess I'll just go for the sour cream pie.

Elizabeth said...

Do you mean the raising meringue sour cream pie, Steve? That is my all-time favorite of Mother's pies, but it's not quite the same without dipping the sour cream from the old cream can. Still good, though!

Ann said...

Shannon, an even more interesting question is would Grandma Wasden have put brandy in the mince meat. We have all laughed just a little over that possibility.

Ann said...

And Steve, please make the mince meat so we can compare results. I am still working on the "batter texture" idea. I like Elizabeth's comment about 10 cents worth of suet. My stuff cost me 50 cents. Ah, the world of inflation.

David said...

Growing up in central Illinois, I would look forward to my Great-Grandmother's mince meat pie at Christmas. She was born in 1889 and still made her pie with meat. I haven't had a real mince meat pie in 40 years, though I have occasionally had a mince meatless pie!

So how did yours turn out?