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Appetite for Knowledge

Mincemeat Pie

Mincemeat Pie, have you heard of this traditional treat? Let’s delve into the history of this unique dish. Mincemeat was developed as a way of preserving meat with sugar rather than the common ways such as salting or smoking many years ago. Mincemeat pie was traditionally a main dish served warm during the cold weather with more meat than fruit, but as fruit and spices became more accessible the pies adapted as well. Mincemeat pie has also been known as mutton pie and Christmas Pie. Some individuals continue their families tradition by having their children leave mincemeat pies for Santa on Christmas Eve.

I had personally never heard of this dish until a few years ago when a co-worker of mine made his mother’s recipe, and was kind enough to share a taste. It is a very unique dish with the meat, spices and fruit. If you’ve tried it yourself, you probably know just what I’m talking about.

Traditional Ingredients

Traditional mincemeat pie is made with finely chopped meat such as beef, mutton, or wild game, and shredded beef suet. Fruit is also a major component of this dish, and common varieties include raisins, currants, tart apples, and citrus peel. Nuts can also be included if desired. Spices make this pie very flavorful and the common ones used include cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, mace, ginger and coriander. Optional, but in some traditional recipes brandy and rum are also included.

Serving to Impress

Mincemeat pies are traditionally enjoyed during holiday get togethers, but they can also help satisfy that sweet tooth any other time throughout the year. Many people enjoy mincemeat pie served warm, but it can also be served cold. The recipe below features both mini pies or you can make two nine-inch pies. You can pair mincemeat pie with ice cream, custard, or low-fat Greek yogurt for a sweet treat that’s sure to impress! 

Written by Shelley Balls, MDA, RD, LD, University of Wyoming Extension Nutrition and Food Safety Educator 

Mincemeat Pie

Course: Dessert
Author: The Daring Gourmet


Mincemeat Mixture

  • 1 pound finely chopped beef steak or other meat such as wild game
  • 1 1/4 cups raisins
  • 1 1/4 cups currants
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 2 cups finely chopped tart apple
  • 7 ounces shredded beef suet
  • 2 cups brown sugar packed
  • 2 tablespoons candied lemon peel
  • 2 tablespoons candied orange peel
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons blanched almonds finely chopped
  • 1 medium lemon zest and juice
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander
  • 2 tablespoons brandy or brandy flavoring
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum, or rum flavoring

Mincemeat Pie

  • 2 pie crust dough or homemade crust as follows:
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter very cold, diced in 1/2 inch cubes
  • 5 ounces lard substitute butter if prefered
  • 2/3 cup ice water
  • 1 batch mincemeat (see above)
  • 2 tablespoons milk for brushing
  • powdered sugar for sprinkling



  • Combine all ingredients except for the brandy and rum in a medium-sized pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to LOW and simmer uncovered for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally, more towards the end to prevent burning.  (If the liquid reduces too soon and the mincemeat starts to stick/scorch on the bottom, add a little bit of apple juice or water.) Stir in the brandy and rum. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. (Note: If you prefer to have the alcohol cooked out, add them at the same time as the other ingredients.) 

Mincemeat Pie

  • If making your own pie crust, combine flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.  Add butter (or lard/tallow) and use a pastry blender or two knives to cut into the flour until you get pea-sized crumbs (alternatively use a food processor).  Stir in water gradually (or pulse with a food processor) until dough holds together when you pinch it between your fingers.  Wrap dough with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30minutes.  
  • Preheat the oven to400°F.  Grease a standard 12-cup muffin tin or mini tart tins.
  • Roll 2/3 of the pie crust out onto a floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut circles out of pie crust to fit into tins.  Roll out the remaining pie crust to the same thickness and cut out circles for lids, or star shapes, or lattices (whichever you prefer). If using circles/lids to fully cover the pies, cut a slit in each pastry lid to allow hot air to escape.
  • Carefully press the pie crusts into the tins and fill them with mincemeat then top with the pie crust lids, stars, or lattices and press the edges together to seal them.  Lightly brush the tops with milk or an egg wash.
  • Bake the pies for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Carefully remove them from the muffin or tart tins, transfer them to a wire rack and sprinkle with powdered sugar. 
  • IF MAKING AFULL SIZE PIE:  Preheat to 375 F and bake it for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 F and bake for another 30 minutes or so.
  • Mince pies are best served gently warmed.  They can be eaten with your hands or with a spoon if served with cream or even ice cream if you like. 
  • Store in in the fridge in an airtight container. Note: These pies freeze well.  Freeze in an airtight container or Ziploc bag, will keep for up to 3 months.

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apple pie with fresh apples off to the upper left hand corner in a basket

Contact Our Experts


Extension Educators:
Shelley Balls – (307) 885-3132
Denise Smith – (307) 334-3534
Vicki Hayman – (307) 746-3531

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Extension Educators:
Shelley Balls – (307) 885-3132
Denise Smith – (307) 334-3534
Vicki Hayman – (307) 746-3531

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Issued in furtherance of extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Kelly Crane, Director, University of Wyoming Extension, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Wyoming Extension, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming 82071.

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