Mincemeat, or fruit mince, is a true wonder – this spicy, rum-soaked, jammy fruit compote is the epitome of Christmas treats! Bursting with deeply luscious flavours and sweet spiciness, mince tarts have a long history, and were not always quite the sweet treat. Traditionally made with ground meats, they have morphed over the centuries into the tarts you may be familiar with – all fruit, booze, and flaky pastry goodness. Many recipes continue to use suet, which is a hard fat from beef or mutton, quite like pork lard. This Merry Mincemeat recipe is suet-free, as suet is a little harder to come by here in Canada, and to make it vegan-friendly if that’s your thing.
To me, nothing could be more cozy on a cold, snowy night than a mincemeat tart and some tea, or perhaps a festive cup of eggnog, by the light of the fireplace. Here is my humble take on the utter gloriousness that is mincemeat. I have also linked below to some fantastic pastry recipes, as my pastry game just isn’t quite internet worthy…
This recipe can be made teetotaler-friendly by using apple cider instead of spiced rum or brandy. Even water would do just fine! I suggest increasing your spices to ensure you get that dark and warming spicy end result.
Really, any mixture of fruit will do! This is the combination I have liked the best over the years. Dark raisins are my favourite for that molasses-y flavour, but any variety of raisin will do. Try more fresh fruit like plums, cranberries, extra apple or pear, pomegranate arils, etc. What combinations do you like best?
Can be made AIP-friendly – try using more fresh fruits as indicated above, replace nutmeg with mace or increase the ginger, use apple cider instead of rum or brandy, use coconut oil instead of butter, and utilize an AIP pastry recipe.
If you tolerate butter, it pairs beautifully with the spiced rum and can be substituted for the coconut oil if desired.
The coconut oil will harden when stored in the fridge – to serve alone, heat in a saucepan until glossy again; to serve as tarts, et al, remove from the fridge about an hour before you plan to eat.
Makes approx 4 cups mince
1 large apple, grated or finely chopped
1 pear, finely chopped
2 c. thompson raisins
1 c. currants or dried cranberries
1/2 c. candied lemon and/or orange peel
1/2 c. marmalade or other chopped fruit – apricots, figs, plums, etc.
1/3 c. coconut oil (or butter)
zest and juice of 1 orange
1 c. spiced rum or brandy (or apple cider for alcohol-free)
1 tsp. cinnamon (add more spices if not using rum!)
1/2 tsp each ginger, nutmeg, cloves
Simmer all ingredients in a large pot over medium-low heat, stirring regularly to avoid sticking or burning. In 15-20 minutes, mixture should be getting thick and syrupy. Add a little additional liquid or oil if sticking.
Once cool, store in the fridge in an airtight container until ready to use.
Use Merry Mincemeat with your favourite pastry recipe to make tarts, hand pies, or a puff pastry roll. Serve atop some Winter Gingerbread Cookies. Mincemeat also goes nicely alongside a charcuterie spread of meats, cheeses and tangy pickle.