Thursday, December 19, 2013

This Christmas Part Seven

“….Some great Shakespearean play where a ghost and a Prince meet and everyone ends in mincemeat!” from the song “That's Entertainment”

Ah, a story of mincemeat! 

My great-grandmother Elma always made mincemeat pies for Christmas. We are talking about real minceMEAT! She had a large crockery pot that sealed with a wire bail. She would start her mincemeat as soon as the good apples were ripe. However make no mistake, her pies were made of real meat, not fancy apple pies like you get today!

She would work her magic with the cooked meat and suet, apples, raisins and a fantastic mix of spices that were sealed up and let do their own magic in a corner of the basement for a few months!


Speaking of pies!
Since this is the season of sharing family stories, let me tell you one that my grandmother (daughter of the pie maker) and my mother both swore as true. Neither were prone to telling lies, but at times, perhaps “tint” a true story. As a young child I never really knew but oh how I enjoyed the telling.
As the story goes: both my mother and grandmother were downtown shopping. As they were like to do, they grabbed lunch at one of the cafeterias near the bus stop.

Well one day my grandmother got a piece of apple pie. As she cut into it, much to her horror, she saw a dead cockroach in the pie! Well she let out a scream! She marched it right back up to the cashier, who had to agree that yes, it did look like a cockroach! Then without a blink, the clerk quietly took down the sign that read “Apple Pie”, and put up one that said “Mincemeat Pie”.

In spite of that story, we kids loved mincemeat pie. However we were always told that it would be pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving: Mincemeat pie was for Christmas!

So with that as a preface, allow slave to share its best approximation of the pie my Great-Grandmother learned to make over 120 years ago! It may not be exact, but after all, at 120 years old who is?

Elma's Mincemeat Pie

1 lb cooked beef (I used left over chuck roast from the crock pot) cut into ½ inch pieces
¾ tsp kosher salt
3 Gala apples, peeled and chopped
1 stick (8 Tbs) butter, melted*
1 cup apple cider
½ cup dark rum
¾ cup dried cranberries
¾ cup dark brown sugar
½ Tbs cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon freshly ground clove
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
3 tbs dark molasses
* my great-grandmother always used suet, however wouldn't you just know it, slave was all out! So melted butter was as close as I could come.
In a large bowl, mix well until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Slave's tip: to make sure you have a nice cooked bottom to your pie, slide in a pizza stone before your pre-heat, then allow to preheat for 20 minutes. Do not just go by the oven buzzer telling you that it is ready.

Line a 9″ pie plate with your favorite pastry. My favorite is one I don't have to make!
Pour the mincemeat filling in, spreading it out evenly.
Put on a top crust. Seal it around the edge with a fork and cut little decorative slivers in the middle to let out steam.


Bake for about 45 minutes or until the crust is a nice golden brown.
If edges are getting too brown, cover them with foil strips.

Hope this inspires you to do some special baking this week. The day approaches and the more you can do ahead of time, the better!

Serving my Master Indy


To satisfy and restore.
To nourish, support and maintain.
To gratify, spoil, comfort and please,
to nurture, assist, and sustain
..I cook!

Exhale everything that makes you unhappy. Inhale everything that brings you peace. Always remember that, despite what you may believe, you are loved!”

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