So what exactly is mincemeat? This is the question raised each time I mention this pie and share it with friends. Many are hesitant to try it fearing some form of cured meat lurking in the mixture. They are not wrong to worry about that possibility.
Traditional mincemeat is a British dish in origin. Due to war time rations and famines, finding a way to preserve the precious commodity of meat was extremely important. Mincemeat found it’s way into many homes as a result. The original recipe for mincemeat called a combination of beef or lamb, suet (fat) and candied peel, spices, and dried fruits. It preserved well under the layer of fat and stored for months at a time. It was normally served in the Christmas season.
The mincemeat I use, does not include meat. It is a green tomato mincemeat. Much sweeter than the original and 100% vegetarian in nature. It cans well, and although traditionally used in a tart on it’s own, this one marries itself with pears to add a unique flavour. The combination of sugars, dried fruit, candied peel, and green tomatoes becomes a thick, chutney like paste. The spices give it the taste and smell of the holidays. Serve this with a sugar free whipping cream to provide a nice balance against the richness of the pie.
The key to this tart is to layer it with the mincemeat on the bottom fanning the pears out over top. Not only is it a beautiful presentation, it is also the prefect way to hold the structure of the tart for serving. To keep the shine on the pears and preserve their fan, I use an apple jelly brushed over the pears before cooking.
You can take your garnish game to the next level by doing a top lattice crust should you wish. This pie has the ability to be a show stopper so by all means, allow that to happen. If you choose that direction, omit the jelly and use an egg wash to brown the latte nicely.
Pear and Mincemeat PiePrint This
- Pastry crust for one 9″ tart shell
- 5 pears peeled, cored, and finally sliced pears
- 1.5 cups of mincemeat
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground allspice
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 cup apple jelly
- Preheat the oven to 400 C
- Roll out the pastry dough and place it in a 9″ tart shell. Evenly press the dough into the pan and trim the edges that are overhanging.
- Spread the mincemeat evenly over the bottom of the pie shell.
- Toss the pears with the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, allspice and cloves.
- Arrange the pears to fan evenly over the pie shell making a single layer design. (refer to the photo for visual inspiration)
- In a small separate pot, add the apple jelly and two tbsp of water. Heat until the jelly has formed a liquid. Brush the liquid jelly over the top of the pie with a pastry brush.
- Place the pie in the oven and cook for approximately 60 minutes. the crust should brown nicely and the pie should be bubbly once ready.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack before serving.
Optional Egg Wash for Lattice pie top: 2 eggs and 2 tsp of water whisked together. Use a pastry brush to evenly coat the pastry top before placing in the oven.