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Mincemeat pie

Mincemeat pie is not part of my heritage (Southern American), so I disclaim all expertise and experience having to do with it. Not only did I never have mincemeat pie as a child, I don’t remember ever hearing about it. As an adult, I was not curious about making it, just because the name is so ugly — mincemeat. Both halves of the word are equally unappetizing.

But when you’ve got good organic apples, it seems like a shame and a waste to peel them for pie. And yet, if you leave the peelings on, then you spoil the texture of the pie with little strips of leathery apple skin. To make apple pie and preserve the skin, I reasoned, it would be necessary to chop — or mince — the apples. That sent me to Google looking at recipes for mincemeat pie. Most recipes for mincemeat pie don’t have any meat in them. Minced apples — skins intact — are the main event, plus other fruits such as raisins, currants, and even cherries. Some call for suet; some call for butter. Rum seems de rigeur. Almost all the recipes required making the filling, then leaving the filling in the refrigerator for at least three days, but up to six months. That made me wonder whether, especially in the days before refrigeration, the filling for mincemeat pie was allowed to ferment. Does anyone know?

In any case, it was a very good pie. But I would have to say that my first mincemeat pie would never beat my apple pies in a baking contest.

Note 1: In Erma Rombauer’s 1943 edition of The Joy of Cooking, she seems to take the “meat” part seriously in one of the recipes, which calls for ground beef. Gross. Hold the meat. I’ll just have the mince.

Note 2: I thought that, as long as rum was on my mind, I might as well flambé the pie, since it has been a long time since I had set any food on fire. But I couldn’t get the rum to light in the evening breeze out of the deck, so I just had the rum.


  1. JamesM wrote:

    My favorite holiday pie for almost seven decades. It was scratch made growing up with suet. Nowadays I usually buy Crosse & Blackwell in a jar. Either way, it has to have a scoop of hard sauce with brandy on top.

    Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 8:42 pm | Permalink
  2. daltoni wrote:

    James: 🙂

    Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 8:48 pm | Permalink
  3. Henry Sandigo wrote:

    Suet? I usually place Suet bars out for my backyard birds, and I never even thought about eating it in anything. We use a lot of Ghee. Ghee took a while for me to accept. I loved the taste of fresh butter from Whole Foods or the Nugget. My wife introduced me to Ghee, because she took a Vegan class. I still crave an old fashion burger with pomme frites!

    Sunday, February 7, 2021 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

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