Thursday, November 29, 2007

Mincemeat Pie

Ok all you veggie folks look away now. Thing is, this pie is superb. A cross between dessert and a main dish. It also provides me with something to do with the off cuts from an elk. It's a holiday standby with me.


4 lbs lean elk (you can substitute venison, beef or mutton)
2 1/2 cups lard or suet refrigerated and cut into cubes
7 1/2 cups chopped tart apples (my favorite is the noble Jonathan)
3 cups liquid which venison or elk was cooked in
5 cups sugar
3 cups hard cider
1 cup molasses
1/2 cup cider vinegar
3 cups raisins
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons ground allspice
2 tablespoons ground nutmeg
Juice of 2 lemons
Juice of 2 oranges
1 cup Calvados

Trim the meat to remove any connective tissue and fat. Cover with water and simmer until meat is tender. Refrigerate the meat in the cooking broth overnight.

Next morning skim off any fat, reserve the broth. Remove any bones or cartilage and cut the meat into 1/4" cubes. In a large stock pot combine all the ingredients except the Calvados and simmer for two hours. Allow to cool and stir in the Calvados. Place in sterilized canning jars and boil them submerged for 10 minutes. Allow to cool and check seals. This will keep all year in a cool dark place. I've never had them last much longer than February.

Use the crust from the Shaker Lemon Pie. I usually do the top crust as a tightly woven lattice, but hey, I'm a documented show-off.

You can punk out and use a prepared mincemeat, I suggest Nonesuch®, it won't make you barf or anything, but the real thing, made yourself is a whole other world.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shit....... Another Jonathan lover. You're as bad as the Dark Wraith, reminding me that I can't find a source for my favorite apple! :-(

The best I can do is Jonagold, a cross of Jonathan with Golden Delicious, and while that's a lovely apple that I truly like IT'S JUST NOT THE SAME!

- oddjob (who remains convinced there's nothing like biting into an apple that actually tastes like biting into apple cider!)

4:35 PM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

another much neglected apple (although we have some growers near julian who are into heirloom varieties) is the winesap. . .


4:44 PM  
Blogger konagod said...

Ewwwwww meat! I'm sure my mother would LOVE it though. She was talking about making a mincemeat pie the last time we spoke.

5:09 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I feel certain my mum would sell one of her daughters into indentured servitude for one of these pies (each holiday season, mind you.) She drives a hard bargain.

8:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If "winesap" = "Stayman winesap" I had them as a teenager. Maybe the ones I had were off, but my impression was they very easily went mealy and if there's anything I hate in an apple it's a mealy texture!!!!!

- oddjob (who also recalls having a pomology class at Penn State where one of the other students, a son of a Penna. apple orchardist, thought I was very weird for not liking Stayman winesap)

10:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

kona, there's also a meatless version of mincemeat pie. That's what I'm familiar with because my grandmother used to make it for Thanksgiving. She liked it, I liked it, and one of my six cousins liked it. Everyone else in the extended family found mince pie revolting. Her version of it was full of fruit & spices. It was not the kind of thing anyone would like who didn't like strongly spiced food. Even with all the bits of apple & raisin, the cinnamon/nutmeg/allspice flavors were strong.

Balanced, but strong.

- oddjob

10:06 PM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

the winesap does have a tendancy to go mealy. it is only acceptable if you can see the orchard with your very own eyes. it has never been a very successful commercial apple for that very reason. but, for baking, for cider, it is exquisite.

10:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it is only acceptable if you can see the orchard with your very own eyes

Thanks! I now finally understand why he thought I had two heads!

- oddjob

3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is now 25 year old information but I was also told in that class that Jonathan is not widely grown commercially and that the vast majority of the crop is used to make those jarred spiced apples you can buy in the grocery store.

- oddjob (who pines for a Jonathan at the moment, now that he's thinking about the taste and aroma.........)

3:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The most widely available one here in the Boston area is McIntosh, a fine apple, but there are others I like much more. (Oh, and it's a lousy baking apple on its own. It has a lovely flavor in a pie but turns to soup.)

- oddjob

3:25 PM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

one extremely memorable moment of apple heaven was when i had a braeburn from braintree. it was reputed to be from the stock of john adam's very own orchard. it was a bite of heaven. i also remember well the apples that me da's brother grew in country kerry. he made both a fizzy delightful hard cider and an apple brandy that would make you see the fairies. i think cider apples are among my favorites for eating out of hand. you bite them and taste possibilities.

5:07 PM  
Blogger seventh sister said...

I'llprobably pass on this recipe since I can't eat beef, don't care for mutton,don't have access to venison. I haev never cared too much for mincemeat but I don't think I ahve ever had the real deal.
I just made your lemon curd with some myers that I scored at Central Market a couple of days ago. I am going to use it to top a Myer Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake that I just made with some of my home made ricotta. I am not sure whta the consistency of the curd is supposed to be like. I had a hard time with the temp while cooking it. I kept having to take it off the burner and put it back on over and over again. It is a little bit thicker than I thought it would be. Should it be more like honey? Mine is quite a bit thicker that that and I and wondering how it will spread. There was no residue to speak of in my strainer so I may have used one that was too course.

5:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The curds I've purchased from the store were always spreadable (on toast and bread), but more akin to the texture of "honey butter" than honey itself.

- oddjob

5:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The big UK favorite apple that you never see in the USA (unless you're into heirloom varieties) is Cox Orange Pippin. Its skin does indeed have an orangey quality to its red and the skin is slightly russeted. I assume it's the russeting that keeps Americans away from it, which is a shame. It's a superior eating apple (don't know anything about how it cooks/bakes).

Another favorite of mine is Cortland, a cross of McIntosh with something else (forget what). It has a lot of Mc's flavor and appearance, but is bigger and sweeter. The skin gets a lovely bright, shiny red!

- oddjob

5:30 PM  
Blogger seventh sister said...

I think I over cooked the curd trying to get it up to the 196 degrees stated in the recipe. I should have followed my own instincts and stopped cooking it a lot sooner.

I've b een getting Jonathan's at the farmer's market. I just scored some more meyers, too. Yum.

11:31 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

sounds like that might be what happened. it's a tricky one at first. then you get a feel for it. the resistence on the spoon the way the tracks are formed while stirring and the touch of a fingertip are the clues i rely on as much as the instant read thermometer.

(i've been known to frustrate the hell out of folks when hand tempering chocolate, my hands just know when it's right)

11:40 AM  

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