holiday mince pies! . . .
Years ago, I was looking for something special to make for friends, family and professional people who help us out all year long as thank you holiday treats. A Williams-Sonoma catalog appeared and I saw a Breville “mini-pie maker” that I ordered. At the same time, a store we frequented was selling large jars of Robertson’s mincemeat for pies. I bought about 5 bottles and made my first Christmas holiday mince pies that year.
The aroma of the pies while they’re cooking/baking, permeates the kitchen of our house with a spicy smell that can only be linked to the Christmas holiday. This year, I wanted to make enough to send to people we depend upon to show them our appreciation. I made some additions to the mincemeat:
To two jars of mincemeat that took me ten minutes to locate in the grocery store, I added two peeled, finely chopped Mutsu apples that I had in the fridge. My daughter, C. introduced them to us and they were delicious. I also peeled and cut out the juicy segments of a large Navel orange. Then, a heaping handful of golden raisins went into the large red mixing bowl that I stirred together.
Next, I used two boxes of Pillsbury prepared pie crust, two in a box. I sprinkled flour on my handy silit pad and cut out bottoms and tops to the minced pies. This plastic cutter is vital to making this recipe process work. Fortunately, G. discovered it in the bowels of the pantry when we finally located and dug out the Breville mini-pie pan this afternoon.
Making four pies at a time, I let the Breville cooker heat up; then carefully pressed bottom pastry rounds into each heated pie space. Then, I spooned in generous amounts of the mincemeat filling, then gently patted the top piecrust round on the filled mincemeat baby crust.
I gently lowered the top and clicked it shut. There was a sizzling sound and soon the aroma of baking pastry filled the kitchen. The pies were so fragrant that it truly felt like Christmas was just around the corner!~ (which it IS!!)
We’ll mail some pies in holiday tins tomorrow at the post office so that these goodies will reach our friends mid-week, around the 21st. They’re best when warmed slightly before serving. We like them with a little cheddar cheese on the side – and some people like them served with vanilla ice cream or some cream.
Like some tasks, I sometimes dread the whole production – searching for jars of mincemeat at the store, buying pie crusts, looking for the Breville pie maker AND the pastry crust mold cutter. BUT, as I’m cutting up the fresh orange, apples and adding the golden raisins, I get in a holiday mood – and when the first batch comes out, it fills me with wonder and delight for yet another holiday season. It’s really worth it and I hope our friends will enjoy this little surprise packed in a gaily decorated tin with two pies nestled in parchment paper.
G. and I shared a small one with our coffee after dinner tonight. We heated it up in the microwave for 20 seconds and ate the mince pie with thin slices of sharp white cheddar cheese. The addition of the fresh fruit and golden raisins has improved what has been an unbeatable holiday treat up to now. Nirvana!