Mincemeat is a mixture of chopped dried fruits and spices that has recently found its way into my regular holiday baking. While some countries have a rich tradition of mincemeat desserts – some of which include other ingredients, like ground nuts or liqueur – I didn’t grow up eating it. But as I enjoy all kinds of dried fruits, the jam-like mincemeat was an instant hit with me. These Bite Size Mincemeat Pies are an excellent way to enjoy this unique treat. Whether you’re already a fan of mincemeat or are trying it for the first time, the sweet and spicy tarts are sure to be a holiday hit.
The crust is very easy to make, as it is a cookie-like dough. It mixes up in one bowl and is pressed into buttered and floured muffin cups. I found it easy to use a small cookie scoop (approx. 1/2-inch balls) to portion the dough into each muffin cup, but you can feel free to eyeball it. Next, flour your fingertips and press the dough about halfway up the sides of each muffin cup. Don’t try to push them all the way up, these are meant to be small tarts! The dough is sticky so flouring your fingers is a must. It is worth working with a slightly stickier dough in this recipe because the finished tarts are incredibly tender as a result.
For the filling, I used prepared mincemeat, a sweet and spicy blend of minced fruits. To the mincemeat, I added cornstarch and an egg yolk to thicken the filling, along with some nutmeg and vanilla. Prepared mincemeat is already spiced, but adding a bit of extra seems to perk it up even more. Cinnamon would be a nice alternative to nutmeg if you’re not a big fan of the peppery spice. I also added a pinch of spice to cut the sweetness.
The filling is divided into the prepared crust cups and baked until the crust is golden brown. Allow them to cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then slide a knife around the sides (if necessary, it may not be) and transfer the tarts to a wire rack to cool completely.
The tarts are buttery and very tender, with an almost melt-in-your-mouth texture. There is lots of filling inside each one – more than you might think! – and it is fruity, juicy and warmly spiced. They are delicious. These are perfect for holiday entertaining and pair wonderfully with coffee and tea. They’re a terrific dessert for a party and can also be wrapped up and given as a gift to friends or family.
Bite Size Mincemeat Pies
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup prepared mincemeat
2 tsp cornstarch
2 large egg yolk
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and flour 24 mini muffin cups.
In a medium bowl, make the crust. Beat together butter and sugar until light. Add in flour and salt and mix at low speed until dough comes together into a ball.
Divide crust mixture evenly into prepared muffin cups (rounded teaspoonfuls, approx 1/2-inch balls). Flour your fingers well and press the dough about halfway up the sides of the mini muffin cups.
Makes 24 mini pies