Well, this is the magic of British Christmas.
Mincemeat is the basic preserve you need to make amazing Christams sweets and treats in Britain, such as pies or puddings. I fell in love with it when I lived in London years ago. The taste feels something like Grandmother’s ovens. In origins it was made with fruits, sugar, vinegar, wine, fat and meat. Yes, meat (the name tells it all!). Today meat is rarely part of the recipe, pork suet instead is the only fat (so a connection with its meaty origins is still there).
Mincemeat is in the category of preserves and must be consumed in pies or puddings and if you want also with very savoury cheese.
It preserves like this up to 6 months and as per all preserves the more it ages, the more it gets better. Vegetarians can substitute suet with vegetable suet.
Makes 20 pies (7 cm diameter)
Ready in 1H30
400 grams all purpose flour
80 grams caster sugar
300 grams unsalted butter
80 grams cold water
a pinch of salt
500 grams mince meat (recipe here)
1 apple, peeled and grated finely
zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
juice of half lemon
Pre-heat a traditional oven to 180° C (or 170° C if using a fan oven).
In a bowl mix all dry ingredients for the dough. Add the cold butter and with your fingertips start to mix them adding the cold water little by little, knead rapidly until the dough is firm and compact. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile mix all the ingredients of the filling. And butter the tins (in the pictures they are 7 cm diameter).
Roll the dough to 3 mm thick. And cut circles (in size with your tins). Crop also some other shapes (with a biscuit cutter at your choice – I picked a star biscuit cutter), to create the “lid”.
Line the tins with the dough, fill it in with the filling and close the top with the lid.
Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden. Let them cool before taking them out from the tins. Dust them with icing sugar before serving.