It’s ridiculously easy at this time of year to come by a perfectly decent shop-bought mince pie. Nonetheless, I feel compelled to make them at home each year. Is it the warm fuzzy feeling that festive baking bestows upon me, the sensation that I am making something to be shared lovingly with friends and family by the light of the Christmas tree?
Bah, humbug! More like an excuse to eat mincemeat straight from the jar with a spoon…
In an effort to become more transparent in my motives towards this Yuletide ingredient, I have legitimised it in the guise of a crumble, thereby freeing it of its shortcrust shackles. It makes a blinder of a seasonal pudding, with ice-cream, clotted cream or even a brandy-laced custard.
Mincemeat and apple crumble
900g cooking apples
1 x 411g jar mincemeat
55g light brown sugar
110g unsalted butter
170g plain flour
A handful of crushed amaretti biscuits or oats
Preheat the oven to 180oC. Grease a baking dish.
Peel, core and chop the apples into dice of roughly 3 x 3 cm. Place these in a pan with a tablespoonful of water and the same of caster sugar. Cover and cook on a medium heat until they are yielding but not yet mush. Stir in the mincemeat and heat through, and remove the pan from the heat. Tip the fruit mixture into the greased dish.
Meanwhile, mix the flour, sugar, butter and crushed amaretti/oats with the fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Scatter evenly over the fruit and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes until golden on top gently bubbling at the sides.