There are few more traditionally historical British Christmastime recipes as a mincemeat (“mince”) pie or tart; but outside of the British Isles, they’re not as well-known.
In a nutshell, traditional mincemeat pie was a savoury pastry, and did contain actual meat; the pies were originally quite a good size, filled with a mixture of finely minced meat such as mutton, beef, pork, rabbit, or various game, along with chopped up fruit and a preserving liquid of some kind, often alcoholic. Mincemeat was supposedly created in the early middle ages (Henry V is reported to have served mincemeat pie at his coronation in 1413) as a good way of preserving meat, without salting, curing, smoking or drying it.
Mincemeat filling has come a long way from days of yore when it used to be made with actual minced meat; you can still find traditional mincemeat pies at specialty British bakeshops, though more and more often mincemeat pies are now made with a vegetable shortening crust and meatless filling. The filling is often sold commercially premade, which certainly saves a great deal of time and effort, though it’s mostly available only around the Christmas season.
…but what if I happened to have a jar of meatless mincemeat filling that I never got around to using this past Christmas? Could it be used in other recipes?
In short, yes, yes it can. Mincemeat filling is essentially mélange of preserved fruits and spices, so if we treat it as such it would theoretically be delicious in different sweet baking recipes, like muffins, or a cake filling, or maybe dotted into cookie batter. It may also be interesting in savoury dishes as well, though that’s outside the scope of this recipe. So, let’s make mincemeat muffins!
This delicious muffin recipe is as easy as it gets; you should have piping hot muffins within 30 minutes, ready to slather with butter or a spread of your choice.
YIELD: 12 servings | PREP: 5 mins | STAND: 5 mins | BAKE: 20 mins
- 1 cup/250mL milk (any kind)
- 1 cup/58g bran flakes
- 1 cup/125g all-purpose flour
- 1 cup/300g mincemeat (vegetarian or otherwise)
- ½ cup/110g brown sugar
- ½ cup/70g dried fruit (I used raisins, cranberries, cut up dates and apricots)
- ½ cup/120mL vegetable oil
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp/5g baking powder
- 1 tsp/5g baking soda
- 1 tsp/5mL pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Prepare 12-cavity muffin tin by spraying with pan spray and set on a rimmed baking sheet. Set aside.
- Mix the milk and bran together and let stand 5 min. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bran mixture and mix only until barely combined; do not overmix.
- Fill muffin tins evenly and bake for about 20 min. The baking sheet should help with excessive browning on the bottom.