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Frederic William Burton - The Meeting on the Turret Stairs, 1864
The Meeting on the Turret Stairs, 1864
Frederic William Burton
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Mince Pies
Make these traditional individual pies with prepared mincemeat or from the following recipe (makes 3 quarts).

  • 1/2 lb. fresh beef suet, chopped fine
  • 4 cups seedless raisins
  • 2 cups dried currants
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped candied citron
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped dried figs
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped candied orange peel
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped candied lemon peel
  • 4 cups coarsely chopped, peeled, cored cooking apples
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 2 1/2 cups brandy
  • 1 cup pale dry sherry

Mincemeat: Combine suet through cloves in a large mixing bowl and stir all together thoroughly. Pour in brandy and sherry, mix with large wooden spoon until all the ingredients are well moistened. Cover bowl and set the mincemeat aside in a cool place (not the refrigerator) for 3 weeks. Check the mincemeat once a week. As the liquid is absorbed by the fruit, replenish it with sherry and brandy, using about 1/4 cup at a time. Mincemeat can be kept indefinitely in a covered container in a cool place, without refrigeration, but after a month or so you may refrigerate if you like.

Mince Pies:

Recipe makes 8 - 2 1/2-inch pies and requires the following pastry plus 8 tsp. softened butter and 1 1/2 cups mincemeat.

  • 8 Tbsp unsalted butter, chilled and cut into bits
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. ice water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. With a pastry brush, coat bottom and sides of 8 - 2 1/2-inch tart tins with the softened butter, allowing 1 tsp. for each tin.

Combine butter, flour, salt, sugar, either in bowl or food processor. Add enough water to make the mixture just adhere together, so it is not crumbly. Form into ball, wrap in waxed paper and chill for at least one hour.

Roll out onto floured pastry cloth and with a cookie cutter or the rim of a glass, cut 16 3-inch rounds of pastry. Gently press 8 rounds into tins, one at a time, then spoon about 3 Tbsp. of the mincemeat into each pastry shell. With a pastry brush dipped in cold water, lightly moisten the outside edges of the pastry shells and carefully fit the remaining 8 rounds over them. Crimp the edges with a fork. Trim excess pastry from around rims with a sharp knife, and cut two parallel slits, about 1/2-inch long and 1/4 inch apart in the top of each pie.

Arrange pies on a baking sheet and bake in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F. and continue baking for 20 minutes more, or until crust is golden brown. Run the blade of a knife around the inside edges of the pies to loosen them slightly, and set them aside to cool in the pans. Then turn out the pies with a narrow spatula and serve.

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