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 Posted: Mon Nov 25th, 2013 05:56 am
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Hellcat
Root Beer Lover


Joined: Tue Nov 15th, 2005
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Ok, been experimenting once again with recipes out of Civil War Recipes: Receipts from the Pages of Goder's Lady's Book. Last year around this time I did the Deviled Turkey recipe and gave you my opinion on that. This time it's the Mincemeat Without Meat recipe.

MINCEMEAT WITHOUT MEAT

One pound hard apples cut small, one pond currants, half a pound shred raisins, half a pound beef suet, quarter of a pound moist sugar, one once lemon and citron-peel, quarter of an ounce cinnamon, one drachm* mace, the rind of a lemon grated, one glass of brandy, and two glasses of sherry. Double the above for large families.

*A drachm (dram) is a metric fluid measure.


Ok, this is the one that prompted that question thread from me. I do believe I've figured out the moist sugar question as I said in that thread (see the thread for that answer). The shred raisins is still in question whether that's an instruction or the name of a type of raisin.

Some of the measurements are easy enough for today's cook to get, some I needed to do a little research on. One I wish I'd pulled out another of my books to get, but I'll get to that later.

I started off with the beef suet on the 12th of this month. I'd been saying I wanted to try making mincemeat from scratch and my mother had a beef roast with quite a bit of fat on it that she used to make a beef stew out of. She trimmed the suet off the roast and gave it to me, It still had a bit of lean, but not terribly much. That I threw into the freezer until this past Friday. On Friday I really got happy about making the mincemeat and bought a couple good sized Cortlands (the came to about 1 1/4 lbs. in the store), a 10 oz. package dried currants, 18 oz. crasins, a package candied citron peel, a package of candied lemon peel, a couple of lemons, and mace. Had the rest here.

Now a couple points on the ingredients I picked up. First off I'd spent time on Friday going over the recipe before I went shopping. Took the book with me but I went out with the attitude of "Hey, I've read this over and over again so I know what the ingredients are." Now before any of you ladies say "typical male" I need to point out that I've known several of the women in my family who have said they knew a recipe only to discover that they got an ingredient or two wrong by not bringing the book with them. In particular my mother has done this. So this may not have just been typical male, it may be typical to my family as well as to males. Or maybe to all of us. But in this case I went into the store saying "Ok, go some raisins at home along with the suet, brandy, sherry, sugar, and cinnamon. What's moist sugar? Ah, I'll use white sugar, it should still work. So need to get apples, a lemon, candied citron, candied lemon, craisins, and mace. Oh, and some storage containers." So I picked up the apples, the candied citron, craisins, and storage containers. Since I couldn't find candied lemon there I figured I'd pick up a couple of lemons and try candying the peel of one lemon. Thankfully I couldn't find mace there and had to go elsewhere to find it, which meant I also found the candied lemon peel there. But once back to the car I decided to check the recipe that I'd been so certain I knew and discovered my error of thinking craisins in place of currants. Also realized that I didn't have enough raisins here and since I already had the craisins decided to substitute them for the raisins. Ended up picking up a box of currants when the lemon peel and mace were picked up. Discovered at the house my mistake there, needed six ounces more than I'd gotten to get the pound of currants needed (though they probably meant fresh currants instead of dried).

So getting down to actually making the mincemeat. I peeled the apples, chopped them into quarters, cored them, and then threw them into the food processor to get a fine chop and threw them into a bowl. Then I threw the suet into the food processor and chopped that as fine as I could and threw it into the bowl. Threw in the craisins two, which is about when I realized I'd gotten the wrong size bowl to mix in. Dumped these ingredients into one of the two largest bowl salad bowls here and then threw about half the container of craisins into the food processor.

Again I'm not sure if shred raisins is an instruction to shred raisins or if it is a type of raisin. I decided to take it as instructions and tried shredding the craisins. Either I had the wrong blade in or raisins are much easier to shred. Either way, after about a minute or two of attempted shredding it looked like nothing was happening so I just dumped the craisins into the mixture. And thus ended what I considered the more obvious measurements.

Next I looked up an ounce on my weights and measures chart and determined it to be 2 Tbs. so I put in 2 Tbs. each of candied lemon peel and candied citron peel. Maybe I'm wrong and it meant an ounce total of both, not an ounce of each, but I read it as an ounce each. A quarter of an ounce is about 1 1/2 tps. but I ended up running it up to2 tps. cinnamon. Then having already done a little research online after posting my questions I found the thing on moist sugar may mean a particular type of brown sugar. Having some dark brown on hand I did a 1/2 cup dark brown sugar mixed with a tablespoon of molasses. All the non-alcoholic ingredients were mixed as well as possible.

And then came my real problem. WHAT THE HECK IS A GLASS I didn't know if they meant something like a shot glass, a teacup, a wine glass, an 8 oz. glass, what. I decided I'd go with 1 cup = a glass. This is the big mistake I made with this stuff, not trying to look up a glass. But the stuff sure smelled great (keep in mind I don't drink, but I sure will get you drunk off my French toast or my strawberry shortcake; I more use alcohol for cooking though I do use a little brandy, honey, and lemon juice to make a cough syrup). I put the mincemeat mixture into the two, 1 quart containers I'd picked up and still had enough to fill 3/4 of a 10 oz. jar and then put it away to marinade and develop it's flavor. Great thing about here, it's so cold that my porch is a natural fridge at this time of year. I put the two quart containers out on the porch and the glass jar in my fridge. Little jars in the fridge are great for checking out the rich smells of homemade mincemeat, I've decided. Personally it smells better and better the longer it sits. But don't know how long the suet in the mixture can go before it goes bad so you can bet I'm not going to be waiting a month to use it all.

Then on Sunday I tried making my first mincemeat pie ever. And I mean ever, I've never even tried making it from store bought mincemeat (not to say I've never had it before, considering my mom makes it at least once a year), though I do have a jar of store bought in the house. Decided to use store bought crust for this, but a bit of a problem. As you can see the book doesn't say whether you should make the pie immediately after making the filling or how long you should wait to make the pie up. It also doesn't say anything about the temperature of the oven (it has a chart in the front of the book that describes things like a hot oven, a moderate oven, extremely hot oven, and the temps, though it doesn't explain things like quick ovens) or how long to bake the pie for. So I looked up the temp and time for the store bought and baked it at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. For the first 20 I had aluminum foil wrapped around the edge of the crust then took the foil off for the last ten minutes.

The consensus, the pie needed to bake longer to try and bake the alcohol out of the mixture. Or need to reduce the amount of alcohol. Or cut back on the amount put into the pie crust (put in a quart, maybe half a quart would work). The flavor isn't bad, but you'll get drunk off a slice of the mincemeat as it is. Ultimately the idea was to maybe go with a quarter of a cup brandy and half a cup sherry next time I try making it.

Ironically the decision to back off on the alcohol looks to be the right one for the future. As I said, I wish I had pulled out some of my other books and looked in them for measurements concerning what a glass is. I pulled my copy of Sarah Josepha Hale's The Good Housekeepr after desert and in the front there is a measurements chart. It says a common sized wine glass is equal to half a gill. Checking my weights and measures chart it says a gill is about 4.8 oz., so half a gill is about 2.4 oz. About 1/4 cup, actually slightly more than a quarter of a cup but for future attempts a 1/4 cup should do for the equivalent of a glass. Still there is the question of time and temp to bake at.

But the pie so far is worth trying again. As I have left over mincemeat I may first try scaling back the amount of filling and adding more time before I trying making up a new batch. You know, maybe try 1 pint of filling and doing 45 to 60 minutes and see how that comes out.

Last edited on Wed Nov 27th, 2013 05:28 pm by Hellcat

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