Pennsylvania Dutch Mincemeat Pie
Michelle’s Vegan Mincemeat Pie
Mincemeat pie originated in England, and then became popular in Pennsylvania Dutch cooking. Mincemeat is a delightful mix of flavors–savory, sweet, citrusy, and spicy. It’s great for dessert, snacks, and breakfast. The spices also make it a special treat for the winter holidays.
Most mincemeats have beef or beef suet, lemon or orange, raisins and/or currants, molasses, brown sugar, cloves, and allspice. Many also have spirits in the filling. The variations I prefer are a combination of lemon and orange, port, apple brandy, apricot juice, “beef” flavoring, and blanched almonds for texture. I’ve made these adaptations, in addition to making the recipe vegan, from the mincemeat pie featured in the wonderful cookbook, “Classic Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking.” This recipe is quite forgiving, so feel free to make substitutions to suit your taste!
Vegan Mincemeat Pie
To get the subtle “meaty” flavor of mincemeat, you can use any vegan alternative to ground beef, such as Yves Meatless Ground or Lightlife Smart Ground Original Crumbles. There are so many complex flavors in mincemeat that the particular brand of ground beef substitute doesn’t matter too much. I also use G. Washington’s Rich Brown Seasoning, a vegan favorite for lending gravy or other dishes a beefy flavor. If you have trouble finding it, you could also try adding Better Than Bouillon No Beef Vegan Base to taste. If you can’t do either, your mincemeat will still be great–these seasonings just add a subtle depth.
Other than that, to make sure your mincemeat pie is vegan, just use organic brown sugar to avoid sugars processed with animal bone char.
For the Mincemeat:
- 1 cup dried apples or dried Turkish apricots, or a combination of the two
- 1 Granny Smith apple (9-10 ounces), peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
- 2 one-inch cubes of peeled, seeded orange
- 12 ounces vegan ground beef alternative (like Yves Ground Round)
- 2 ounces raisins
- 2 ounces Zante currants, or more raisins if unavailable
- 1/4 cup organic brown sugar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp. table molasses (like Grandma's Original)
- 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup port wine
- 1/4 tsp. allspice
- 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
- 1 packet G. Washington's Rich Brown Seasoning (optional, but recommended)
- Lemon zest, to taste
For the Pie:
- 1 ounce slivered almonds
- 1/4 cup apple brandy
- 1/4 cup apricot juice
- Pastry for a vegan deep dish, double pie crust (9 inches). I like Ina Garten's easy pie crust recipe. Just replace the butter with Earth Balance Buttery Spread that's been frozen for 10 minutes, and omit the salt. You'll need to make 2 batches for this pie.
- Place the dried apples or apricots in a bowl and cover with scalding water. Let sit for 20 minutes, then drain.
- Coarsely chop the dried fruits, fresh apple chunks, and orange cubes.
- Place the vegan ground beef in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Break up into crumbles with a wooded spoon or spatula.
- Add the chopped fruits and all the rest of the mincemeat ingredients to the saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then cook for 30 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally.
- Refrigerate the mincemeat overnight in a covered container.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Line a 9-inch deep dish pie plate with bottom crust.
- Place the mincemeat in a mixing bowl and stir in the almonds, apple brandy, and apricot nectar.
- Place this mix into the deep dish pie crust.
- Roll out the top crust and place over filling. Pinch to seal the bottom and top crusts. Slice 4 vents into the top pie crust.
- Bake for 45 minutes at 350F.
- Let cool at room temperature for at least an hour before serving. I prefer it served warm.
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