Mincemeat Pie generally does not contain meat, well not anymore at least. If you are lucky you might come across one that is the combination of the usual dried fruits and apples with beef suet, giving it rich feel. However if you want a traditional meat based mince pie you are probably going to have to make it yourself. Luckily it is quite easy and definitely worth it.
Like Christmas pudding this pie has a long history and a longtime association with the holiday season. And also like Christmas pudding, mincemeat pie is, well, not everyone’s favorite. Seems that people are not use to such rich and flavorful desserts anymore, often preferring more blandly sweet desserts. They pass by the dried fruits and spices in these traditional desserts, but mow through plates of pale, flavorless, crisco sugar cookies like there is no tomorrow.
In a culture where everything is so easy at hand it can be hard to make the holiday meal as special as it should be. A little difficult to give the meal that feeling that there is real preparation or sacrifice in its making that really sets it apart from the daily indulgences that are so common now. That is where things like the Christmas pudding, with its months in the making, or the Mincemeat Pie, which in this case uses venison, comes in. For there are few things that require more work, time, and care to bring to the table than game meat. Hunting in itself is, for me, nearly a sacred act and its fruits are the most precious. Combine the venison with the sugar, spices, suet, and citrus it becomes a rare treat. The spicing complements venison quite well and the addition of suet adds a richness to the naturally lean meat.
- 1 pound ground venison (or lean beef), boiled
- 4 oz. suet, chopped
- 1 lb tart cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
- 3/4 c. beef broth (or liquid reserved from cooking the meat)
- 1 1/4 c. sugar
- 3/4 c. hard cider
- 1/4 c. molasses
- 2 T. cider vinegar
- 1 c. golden raisins
- 1 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 t. ground allspice
- 1 1/2 t. ground nutmeg
- 1/2 t. ground cloves
- juice from one lemon
- juice from one orange
- 1/4 c. brandy
- pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
- Boil the ground venison in a couple of cups of water, breaking up any clumps, until cooked through. Drain and reserve the liquid.
- In a large stock pot combine the boiled venison and all the ingredients except the brandy and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for at least 2 hours. Making sure it doesn’t boil dry.
- After at least 2 hours and when the mixture is quite thick turn off the heat, add the brandy and let cool to room temp. You can at this point store it in the fridge for a few days until you want to make the pie, just bring it back up to room temp before baking.
- When ready to make the pie preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and roll out the dough. Bake for about 1 hour until golden brown and hot and bubbly.
- Let cool and serve with a hard sauce of some sort.