Published December 12, 2006.
Skipping the suet is only part of the solution to updating this classic holiday pie.
Too often, mincemeat pies are murky tasting and overly rich; more than a bite or two is too much.
We wanted to bring the mincemeat pie into the modern age by making it cleaner and lighter.
We started to develop a recipe with two premises: we wanted to drop the beef (which often obscures the flavor of everything else) as well as replace the suet with butter, an ingredient not only much more accessible to the modern cook but also one that, while still rich, lacks the deep beefy flavor and mouthcoating gloss of beef fat. But without the beef, we needed to maximize the fruit flavor. A combination of McIntosh and Granny Smith apples proved a perfect fruit foundation—the Macs turned mushy to form the base for the filling and the Grannies added tartness to punctuate the filling's sweetness. We chose golden rather than dark raisins; we found the latter had an assertive flavor that overpowered the filling. Currants paired well with the raisins as did candied orange peel. We brought in sweetness with both light and dark sugar, and kept the customary spice blend of cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and cloves. To intensify the flavor, we simmered the fruit about 3 hours in apple cider. For a final bright note, we added a little rum or brandy.list of recipes