Chef Cathal Armstrong's Minced Pies Recipe

Chef Cathal Armstrong's Minced Pies Recipe
Staff Writer
Cathal Armstrong

Cathal Armstrong

Cathal Armstrong

"We make minced pies as a family every year. The kids love making them with their dad! They are easy to freeze, keep handy, and share with visitors. The other tradition is bombolino, eaten hot and fresh on Christmas Day!" -- Meshelle and Cathal Armstrong, chefs and co-owners of Restaurant Eve.  

Ingredients

For the mincemeat:

  • ½ pound fresh beef suet, chopped fine
  • ¼ pound golden raisins
  • ¼ pound seedless raisins
  • ½ apple, peeled and grated
  • ¾ pound dried currants
  • ¼ pound coarsely chopped almonds
  • ¼ pound coarsely chopped mixed
  • ¾ pound sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ ounce minced fresh ginger
  • 2 ounces brandy
  • ¼ ounce salt
  • Juice and zest of 2 lemons

For the pastry:

  • 8 teaspoons softened butter
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into bits
  • 1½ cups unbleached flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons ice water

Directions

For the mincemeat:

Combine ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Cover bowl and set the mincemeat aside in a cool place (not the refrigerator) for 3 weeks. Check the mincemeat once a week and stir well. Mincemeat can be kept indefinitely in a covered container in a cool place, without refrigeration, but after a month or so you may refrigerate if you like.

For the pastry:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. With a pastry brush, coat bottom and sides of eight 2 ½-inch tart tins with the softened butter, allowing 1 teaspoon for each tin. Combine butter, flour, salt, and sugar, either in bowl or food processor. Add enough water to make the mixture just adhere together, so it is not crumbly.

Form into ball, wrap in waxed paper and chill for at least one hour. Roll out onto floured pastry cloth and with a cookie cutter or the rim of a glass, cut sixteen 3-inch rounds of pastry. Gently press 8 rounds into tins, one at a time, and then spoon about 3 tablespoons of the mincemeat into each pastry shell. With a pastry brush dipped in cold water, lightly moisten the outside edges of the pastry shells and carefully fit the remaining 8 rounds over them. Crimp the edges with a fork. Trim excess pastry from around rims with a sharp knife, and cut two parallel slits, about ½-inch long and ¼ inch apart in the top of each pie.

Arrange pies on a baking sheet and bake in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for 20 minutes more or until crust is golden brown. Run the blade of a knife around the inside edges of the pies to loosen them slightly, and set them aside to cool in the pans. Then turn out the pies with a narrow spatula and serve.

Pie Shopping Tip

There are so many varieties of chocolate on the shelves today it can be overwhelming to pick one – as a general rule of thumb, the fewer the ingredients, the better the chocolate.

Pie Cooking Tip

Think beyond cakes and pies – fruits like peaches, pineapple, and figs are excellent grilled – brush with melted butter or wine and sprinkle with sugar and spices for a dessert that you can feel good about.