Monday, December 23, 2013

(Almost) Downton Abbey Mincemeat

Every year, one of my family traditions is to make mincemeat tarts for my dad. When I was growing up, making the pastries involved my mom's go-to Crisco crust and a store-bought jar of filling (with or without rum flavouring, whatever was on the shelf / cheaper), but eventually I took the reins and as a foodie with an overflowing garden and pantry, I took on the task of making the filling from scratch each summer. I've never been content to stick to just one version, since the beauty of mincemeat is that it really can be made with whatever you have on hand. Rhubarb. Green tomatoes. Beets and carrots. Cabbage. And now prunes, figs, grapes and... TVP.

(Almost) Downton Abbey Mincemeat
Yup, you read that right. It's only fitting, really, since the original mincemeat did include a "minced meat" of some kind (from veal to rabbit or even plain ol' suet). I tossed the TVP into this year's batch (inspired by and adapted from the The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook) more for texture and body than nutrition and tradition, since I opted to keep the batch nut-free (and vegan). You can always leave it out, but I promise you won't notice it's there - with all the rich, warming spices, fruit, molasses and (of course) a good glug of rum, all you'll notice is that it's Christmastime!

The mincemeat is also extremely versatile - there are the tarts and pies of course, but you can make Christmas Cake, muffins, and swirled yeast bread too! I even saved some of this year's batch for a fruitcake-like "loaf", and it is delicious!

(Almost) Downton Abbey Mincemeat
Makes about 8 cups, 32 (1/4 cup) servings
1 cup raisins
½ cup dried cranberries
8 dried figs, quartered
10 prunes, quartered
1 lb red seedless grapes, chopped
6 large apples, peeled and diced
2 oz dry TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein) granules (optional, adds texture)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp fresh ginger
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp allspice
pinch salt
Juice and zest of 2 oranges
½ cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
3 tbsp unsulphured molasses
1 cup spiced rum, divided
  1. Combine fruit, TVP, spices, orange juice and zest, sugars, molasses and half the rum in a large pot. Bring to a brisk simmer, then cover and reduce heat to low.
  2. Cook, covered and stirring occasionally, for 3 hours.
  3. Uncover and cook 45 minutes more, until thick and reduced.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in remaining rum.
  5. Store in the fridge up to 1 month or freeze up to 1 year.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 114.1
Total Fat: 0.2 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 3.0 mg
Total Carbs: 25.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.5 g
Protein: 1.5 g