There are no mince pies in America. I repeat there are no mince pies in America.
This shouldn’t bother me, because luckily I know how to make my own healthy mince pies. Well, I know how to make my own gluten-free pastry and fill it up with the finest organic healthy mincemeat I can get my hands on. Not a problem in London, but with mince pies and also mincemeat being a very British affair, here in the USA jars of imported mincemeat seem to retail at $17.00! They are also full of refined sugar. Yesterday I took action against this tragedy and made up my very own batch of healthy mincemeat for pies I will be making later this week.
I can’t wait to introduce this delicious British institution to the Americans – especially as I’ve had to explain to my American pals many times that there is in actual fact no mince in mince meat. Though traditionally there was, and that’s how these cute little pies got their name. I”m not sure I would quite fancy the old fashioned version, though. Anyone ever tried one?
There are many variations for mincemeat recipes, no doubt handed down through families, friends, cookbooks and more recently the internet. Most are abundant with refined white or soft brown sugar (which is actually white sugar with molasses added for colour, its not healthier – a frequent misconception). There is probably enough fructose sweetness from all of those dried fruits for you to do away with sugar altogether but I decided to opt for a little coconut palm sugar for texture and a caramelly flavour boost – though, with a mere 50g in this recipe its way less than you would usually find. I’m certain I couldn’t taste the difference. I also didn’t want to add any candied peel (the word candied frightens me), and instead threw in an interesting mixed dried fruit mix. Do feel free to mix up your dried fruits – as long as you keep the weight / volume as below and pick a range of colours your mincemeat will be beautifully jewelled for Christmas. I also decided to go for butter instead of the traditional suet. Not because I think there is anything wrong with organic well sourced suet, just that its harder to come by in these ‘ere parts.
The cooking methods also alter between recipes, some chefs favouring a long simmer, some no heating at all. For my basic method & what to include I consulted the legendary Mary Berry and also Joy of Baking and went somewhere in-between for my healthier take on the traditional classic. I hope you enjoy my slightly ‘wing-it’ (wunged?) version.
I’ll be sharing my own new gluten free pastry which will house this mincemeat later in the week so stay tuned for the results…
- 1 large apple, such as Braeburn, Gala etc peeled and grated
- ½ cup raisins / 75g
- ½ cup golden sultanas / 75g
- ½ cup currants / 75g
- ½ cup dried cranberries / 65g
- ½ cup mixed dried fruit: apple, peach, sultana, apricots (NB not traditional) / 60g
- Zest and juice of an orange
- ⅓ cup coconut palm sugar / 50g
- 4 Tablespoons organic butter, cubed
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 1 Tablespoon brandy (optional)
- Add all of the ingredients above (other than the brandy) into a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir
- When the butter is fully melted, turn the heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring often.
- Take the saucepan off the heat and stir through a Tablespoon of brandy, and decant into sterilized glass jars.
- Leave to cool with the lid slightly ajar, then secure tightly and store until you're ready to use.
If you enjoyed this post you might enjoy my Christmas ebook ‘Everything but the turkey’. Released in December 2014 it includes an updated improved version of this mincemeat and pie recipe as well as 11 more healthy recipes for the festive season. You can purchase the ebook Here58