Last year, a day or two before Christmas, a woman drove up just as April, our counter girl, was putting out the “open” sign in the parking area. She asked if we had any Mincemeat Pie? April told her no, we had run out. I had made 5 gallons of mincemeat last season and was down to the last quart and in the middle of baking the last of the Mincemeat Tarts for a regular customer who wanted one for the holiday.
When April came in and told me about the woman in the parking lot I asked if she thought she could catch her before she pulled away and April ran out and stopped her. An hour later, the tarts were out of the oven and the happy woman was driving away with one. It turned out that she had driven over from Corvallis after searching all of the bakeries in the Corvallis area for a Mincemeat Pie. She had come to the coast in hopes of finding a bakery that had one, she didn’t know about Pacific Sourdough but happened to see our sign. The tart was to be a gift for her 90 year old neighbor!
I thought about all the coincidences that brought that woman to our door; the drive to the coast, seeing our open sign, April being in the parking lot just then, me having the last of the mincemeat tarts for a special customer, and an extra one……it all came together. Could we say “holiday miracle”?
- 5 pounds tart apples, peeled, cored and chopped
- 1 pound raisins
- 1 pound golden raisins
- 1 pound dried currants
- 2 pounds brown sugar
- 1 quart apple cider
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon allspice
- 1 tablespoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ginger
- 2 oranges
- 1 lemon
- Mix all the ingredients except lemon and oranges in a large enamel or stainless steel kettle. Finely grate orange and lemon rinds; discard the white pith and seeds and finely chop oranges and lemon. Add rind and fruit to kettle and simmer uncovered 1 hour, stirring occasionally at first, more often as the mixture thickens. Or you can put everything in a crockpot on high for about 6 hours or overnight on low, stirring once or twice. When the mixture is thick and well blended ladle into jars and seal, cool and label. You can process the jars in a water bath canner (be sure to consult a canning resource for exact time and directions), or just refrigerate.
- Feel free to improvise the fruit and seasonings, I have used green tomatoes in place of some of the apples. I have also made the recipe with pears. If you know you will can the filling, start by washing and sterilizing 6 pint jars or 2 quarts and 2 pints and their closures and keep hot on a baking sheet in a 250 degree oven until needed.