As the crazy Christmas season descends upon us our thoughts turn to what we can (over) indulge in. Mince pies are always top of my list, especially when accompanied with a warming glass of mulled wine.
Although I tend to try and hold off until December to welcome mince pies into my kitchen, this year I had to make an exception.
As I’ve been busy working on a new recipe book – 101 Electric Pressure Cooker Recipes (you can grab it here!) I had to do a little mincemeat testing. All in the name of research of course 😉
I co-authored this book with an American friend (side note: if you are a US reader, we also have a separate Electric Pressure Cooker Book with US measurements and ingredients, especially for you!) It was during the creation of this book that the major differences between UK and US foods became even more apparent to me. I always knew we had a different measuring system, and of course names for foods, but it was interesting to note the different ways and traditions of each nation.
I never took the time to even think about the origins of our festive mince pie. Considering the amount I have consumed over the years, I felt it was about time I did.
According to Why Christmas, mince pies originally had real meat in them, such as lamb (the mincemeat part kind of gives that away I know!) They also used to be oval to represent the manger that baby Jesus slept in.
OK, enough of the history lesson. Let’s get on to the tasty stuff.
Mince pies these days are (thankfully) filled with yummy dried fruits and if you like, some alcohol. There has been some debate lately over whether kids should be eating mince pies with alcohol in them after a recent event reached the news about a student being refused a packet of mince pies owing to the alcohol content. The general consensus is that the amount of alcohol in a mince pie is so minimal it wouldn’t do any harm, but if you’d rather leave it out, it still tastes as delicious. I’ve made this recipe both ways, with and without and I enjoy both.
I made the mincemeat for this recipe in my electric pressure cooker (an Instant Pot) but you can also make it in a slow cooker or on a low heat on your stove.
Any mincemeat that you intend to store or give as gifts need to be stored in clean, sterilised jars, and then kept in a cool, dry place.
Jars can be sterilised by one of the following methods;
- Run through a complete dishwasher cycle.
- Washed with hot soapy water, rinsed and then placed in a microwave for 1 minute on high.
- Washed with hot soapy water, rinsed and place in an oven on a low temperature for 30 minutes.
Once you’ve made your mincemeat you can make some mince pies. All you need to do is make some pastry (or if you’re pressed for time, get some ready to roll pastry).
- 500 g Granny Smiths (or cooking apples), peeled, cored and diced into tiny cubes
- 200 g Soft brown sugar
- 150 g sultanas
- 150 g Raisins
- 150 g currants
- 50 g glace cherries, chopped
- 150 g vegetable suet, grated
- 100 g mixed peel, chopped
- 300 ml apple juice
- 1 Lemon, Juice and zest
- 1 orange, Juice and zest
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 150 ml brandy/rum, optional
- 60 g almonds, optional, chopped
- Combine all the ingredients in the pressure cooker pot apart from the brandy/rum and the almonds. Stir well to make sure all the ingredients are mixed together.
- Cook on low pressure for 10 minutes and allow a natural release.
- If you are adding brandy/rum and/or almonds, add now and stir in.
- Switch the pressure cooker to the sauté mode and gently simmer the mixture for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the desired consistency is reached.