Trim the meat if necessary and dice it into small cubes. Pour the cider into a large saucepan or small kettle and add the sweeteners and spices. Add the meat and bring this mixture to a boil, then turn down and simmer for about 2 hours, or until the meat
After 2 hours, turn off the heat and remove the meat with a slotted spoon. Add the currants, raisins, cranberries and lemon rind and juice to the hot cider/broth mixture. Let these steep while you grind or mince the meat along with the suet, if you're usi
Return the meat (and suet) to the fruit mixture, bring back to a boil and then down to a simmer for about 1/2 hour. Boil off enough liquid so the mixture is thick.
If you opted not to use suet, melt and blend in the butter at this point.
After the mixture has cooled, add 1/4 cup of "spirits." This may be anything from a maple liqueur to brandy to rum to a hearty red wine. This adds flavor and helps preserve the mincemeat.
Cover and store mincemeat in a cool place for 2 or more weeks if you have time. Give it an occasional stir (clockwise!) and add 2 or 3 more tablespoons of spirits if you wish.
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Roll half of the dough to a 14-inch circle (or flip your pie pan over on top of the circle you've rolled. If the dough is bigger all around by 2 inches, it's the right size). Fit the dough into your pan, and fill 1 1/2 inches de
Roll out your dough and cut the pastry into rounds 5 or 6 inches in diameter, or big enough to fill the cups of a muffin tin, with smaller circles for the tops. Carefully place the larger circles in your muffin tin.
Fill the shells about half full with mincemeat. Moisten the rim of the dough with cold water, place the slightly smaller rounds of the dough on top of the filling and, with a fork or your fingers, press them to the bottom crusts. If you wet the rim of the
After you put the pies in the oven, turn the heat down to 375°F and bake the 9-inch pies for about 35 minutes. Bake the tarts for about 20 minutes. If they begin to brown too quickly, turn the heat down to 350°F for the final 5 to 10 minutes. Let the smal
In this country, we often eat mince pie with vanilla ice cream. In England, it's customary to serve little Christmas pies with cream or Hard Sauce (recipe in next paragraph). When you sit down to eat your pie, think about all the other people over the age
Hard Sauce is made by combining 1 stick of softened butter, 1/2 cup of brown sugar (or 1 1/2 cups of confectioners' sugar), a teaspoon of vanilla and 2 or 3 tablespoons brandy or rum (to taste). Cover and chill before serving.