I decided to do this post to share one of my family's traditions. My grandmother was a World War II bride from England and one of her traditions was to make mini mince meat pies during Christmas. She would make a bunch and freeze them and she would slowly dole them out. We all looked forward to them every year.
My sister and I both have carried on this tradition. We both love making the mince meats. They remind us both of my grandmother.
Here are some step by step pictures of me making mince meats. They actually can be made fairly easy. And, I thought it would be interesting to include some history on mince meats that I found on Wikipedia. I hope this is something that you will try. By the way, if you are scared to give making these a try, you can buy premade mince meat pies in your grocer's freezer section. Don't let the ingredients list scare you. The best way to describe mince meat is a rich, flavor. It reminds me of cinnamon and and of all spice and the apples and raisins are great. Yum.
The easiest way to make this is to use Jiffy Pie Crust. And then you'll need a jar of mince meat. Any grocer should sell this. I bought mine at Wal Mart. A jar runs around $5, but you get quite a few little pies out of of it. The brand I've gotten is called Borden None Such Mince Meat.
To fill the pan, you can take small balls of dough and press it into the pan. The pan I used is by Pampered Chef. They also sell a tart shaper, it is a wooden piece and is fabulous for helping you shape dough in the pan.
Here are the little pies filled with mince meat. I made two trays of 12 and still had some mince meat left over.
Here is a baking tip I do. When I roll out on my counter or stove, I first cover it with saran wrap. I find it makes clean up a lot easier. See, just peel back the saran wrap and most of the flour is contained in it.
Ok, I had to do a "Food Network" shot. Eat your heart out Paula Deen. LOL
Be sure to check in tomorrow on our Countdown to Christmas. Thanks for stopping by!
History of Mince Meat Pies from Wikipedia
These small festive pies, usually between 2 and 3 inches in diameter (5-7.5 centimetres), can be made using either sweet shortcrust pastry or puff pastry. The American version of the mince pie can be much larger (8-10 inches or 20-25 centimetres).
The origin of the word 'mincemeat' is of interest, especially as most modern mincemeat does not contain any meat whatsoever, save for the Amish variety, which often contains pork, beef or sausage. Up to Victorian times, the mince(meat) pie would actually have been a spiced meat pie with some dried fruit. Nowadays, the only remnant of the original meat is the inclusion of suet. Typically, the filling is now made entirely from fruit-based mincemeat containing dried fruit such as raisins, currants, glace cherries, apricot, candied peel; spices such as cinnamon or nutmeg; nuts such as walnuts or chopped almonds; suet; and some kind of alcohol, usually either brandy or rum. Mince pies are suitable for vegetarians only if the suet is replaced by vegetable fat.
Once cooked, the pie is often finished off with a delicate dusting of either caster sugar or icing sugar on top.
The origins of the mince pie begins with the medieval pastry, chewette which was either fried or baked. The "chewette" actually contained liver or chopped meat mixed with boiled eggs and ginger. Dried fruit and sweet ingredients would be added to the chewette's filling for variety. By the 16th century 'mince' or shred pie was considered a Christmas specialty, but in the 17th century, Oliver Cromwell made the eating of mince pies on Christmas Day illegal. (This law was voted fourth "most ridiculous British law" in a 2007 poll.) In the mid-17th century the liver and chopped meat was replaced by suet, and meat products were no longer generally used in the 'mince' by the 19th century in both North America and Great Britain. Though traditional suet pies are still made, they are no longer the dominant form.
Folklore states that mince pies are a favourite food of Father Christmas, and that one or two should be left on a plate at the foot of the chimney (along with a small glass of brandy, sherry or milk, and a carrot for the reindeer) as a thank-you for stockings well-filled.
British tradition demands that the mince meat mixture should only be stirred in a clockwise direction. To stir it anticlockwise is to bring bad luck for the coming year.
Tradition also says that one should make a wish whilst eating one's first mince pie of the festive season, and that mince pies should always be eaten in silence. There are variations on this, including eating the first mince pie in a different location during the season in silence, while other family members try to make this a game by tricking the eater into speaking during its consumption.
Eating at least one mince pie on each of the twelve days of Christmas is thought by some people to bring luck for the coming year.
Mince pies traditionally have a star on top, to represent the Christmas Star which Christians believe led the Magi to the baby Jesus in Bethlehem.