Anyone proud of their British heritage loves mincemeat pie. This spiced dessert is a tradition to make around the holidays. In fact, some English families leave out a slice of mincemeat pie for Father Christmas instead of cookies and milk. It’s supposedly good luck to eat mincemeat pie on each of the 12 days of Christmas. But many people have never heard of it or are hesitant to try it, based on the name.
What is mincemeat pie?
Mincemeat or mince pie is a British delicacy for the holiday season that traces its origins back to the kings and queens of the Middle Ages, or even earlier. The recipe was developed as a way to preserve meat, such as mutton or beef, without salt or smoke. The “minced” meat, or suet, was mixed with dried fruits and spices like cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, then baked into a pie.
Reader Connie Hammond of Fort Madison, Iowa, recalls helping her grandma, mom and two of her grandma’s sisters prepare it. “Mincemeat is a wonderful pie filling with cooked ground beef, chopped apples and raisins, plus spices and juices for flavor. It took all day to make,” she writes. “We ground the beef finely with a hand-crank grinder and cooked it, peeled and chopped Jonathan apples, and then mixed and simmered the stuff to perfection.”
Mincemeat has evolved to reflect changing tastes, and it’s now often meatless—simply a delicious blend of fruits and spices.
Mincemeat Pie Ingredients
- Pastry for single-crust pie
- All-purpose flour
- Prepared mincemeat
- Chopped walnuts
Step 1: Prepare the crust
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a 9-inch pie plate with pastry, then trim and flute the edges. You can use a store-bought pie crust or follow our step-by-step pie crust guide to make your own.
Step 2: Mix the pie filling
In a large bowl, lightly beat eggs. Combine the sugar, flour and salt, and gradually add the dry ingredients to the eggs. Stir in prepared mincemeat, chopped walnuts and melted butter. Pour the filling mixture into your prepared crust.
Step 3: Bake the pie
Bake the pie for 15 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 325° and bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, approximately 35 to 40 minutes.
Mincemeat Pie Tips
How do you store mincemeat pie?
Allow the pie to cool completely, then store it in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
How do you serve mincemeat pie?
As a finishing touch, put a dollop of vanilla ice cream on top of each slice.