Yield: one 9-inch pie
“Back to Baking”, pp. 99
Like most people, I strongly dislike wasting food. As such, whenever I have some fruits or vegetables, or any other ingredient for that matter, laying around that I know will probably turn bad before I get to consume it, I search for a recipe that I could make to use it up and prevent wastage. Last week I had a combination of apples that were getting soft, raisins, dates and prunes, the last of which I wouldn’t even think of eating just like that. To my surprise, I was able to find a perfect recipe in “Back to Baking” that would allow me to use all of these ingredients! I call upon… the mincemeat pie. Do not be fooled. This is not a meat pie or a “tourtière” in Quebecois, but rather a British dessert consisting of dried fruits, juices and some syrup.
I had never had mincemeat pie and was very curious to both make it and try it. Fortunately, this recipe was not complicated to make. Essentially put everything in a pot except the maple syrup and honey, then add those until the mixture is bubbling and thickened. The pie looked good, smelled delicious because of the cloves, but… I was left surprisingly disappointed. Now the problem is that since I never had mincemeat pie, I don’t know if I don’t like this pie I made, or if I just don’t like mincemeat pie in general. I think that it is rather the latter. I could tell that the taste was there – sweet but not sickeningly so, but something about the texture made me stop after two bites. I was never really a fan of the texture of dried fruits, but dried prunes specifically is what got me. Nonetheless, I brought this pie at work to hand off to colleagues (Note: worry not, to be fair I did warn them that I personally did not like it), and some brave souls tried it. The novice mincemeat pie eaters thought it was good; no more, no less. However, an older colleague of mine that really enjoys mincemeat pie told me that it was really good and that she was stunned to know that I made the filling myself. What I am trying to convey here is that if you like mincemeat pie, you will probably like this recipe. It is what it is meant to be, it seems!
- 1 recipe Double-Crust Pie Dough, chilled
- 2 cups peeled and diced apples (such as Granny Smith), cut in 1 cm pieces
- 1 cup Thomson raisins
- ½ cup chopped pitted dates
- ½ cup chopped pitted prunes
- 1 cup walnut pieces
- ⅓ cup apple juice (or cider)
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons quick-cook tapioca
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ cup honey
- ½ cup maple syrup
Ingredients for brushing:
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons water
- Pulled the chilled pie dough from the fridge at least 30 minutes prior to rolling. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- On a lightly floured surface, knead one disc of the pie dough slightly to soften, then roll it out to a circle of about ¼ inch thick. Dust a 9-inch pie plate with flour and place the rolled pastry into the shell. Roll the second disc in the same fashion, place it onto a tray and chill both while preparing the filling.
- In a medium saucepot over medium heat, stir the apples, raisins, dates, prunes, walnuts, apple juice (or cider), lemon juice, orange zest, cocoa powder, tapioca and spices until the mixture just begins to bubble.
- Add the honey and maple syrup, and stir until the fruits simmer. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.
- Spoon the filling into the chilled pie shell and spread to level. Cut a hole in the centre of the second pastry sheet and place it over the mincemeat. Trim and pinch the edges.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and water. Brush the top of the pie pastry with this egg wash, and place the pie on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
- Bake the pie for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and bake the pie for another 45 minutes, or until the crust is an even golden brown. Cool the pie for at least 3 hours before slicing to serve.