I find most shop bought mincemeat to be rather sweet and I don’t have to time or inclination to make my own. And if I make my own sweet shortcrust pastry I can add things like ground almonds or some grated orange zest to liven things up a bit.
I use a muffin tin to make deep filled mince pies, but rather then use pastry for the top I like to do something different. A frangipane mix is a good counterpoint for the richness of mincemeat, a crumble topping or I will use some chopped cooked apple like these I made recently.
Apple topping – left, almond crumble topping – rear, pastry top sprinkled with sugar on right.
Puff pastry can be used and to save time the bought block of pastry is useful. I prefer the all butter sort but the choice is yours. With this pastry you can make turnovers either curved or triangular. Alternatively make a ravioli shape like this:
Delia’s flaky pastry is good in both of these recipes so do try it. If you’re not a fan of mince pies at all but are happy to eat something with dried fruits in it then try something like an Eccles cake
Other uses for mincemeat are as a topping for a sponge pudding, putting it in the base of the bowl before adding the sponge mix. You can add extra fruit or nuts to the mincemeat like cranberries or some chopped apple. There are some recipes about on the internet for mincemeat muffins, as a filling with apple for a strudel and even souffles so it is a very versatile ingredient.
There are a lot of flavoured creams and butters out there to go with a mince pie though this year I’m doing a rum and raisin icecream to go with ours. The Co-op even does a brandy butter icecream. A new trend this year is for the Xmas Pudding icecream and other “specials”. A simple sauce anglaise or white sauce flavoured with rum or brandy is just as nice.
Just don’t add too much to Santa’s waistline or he’ll never get all those presents delivered.
Ho, Ho, Ho!