A simmering pot of mincemeat announces the holiday season with its heady, spicy aroma, but this one is meat-less. The suet and beef from the old recipes are gone, and the fruit flavor has been increased with apple juice concentrate, which also acts as a sweetener. As supermarket candied citrus peels are usually tasteless, look for high-quality imported ones. Some mincemeat is aged for months, but this one is ready to go the day after making. The result is a multi-colored and deeply-flavored mélange that tastes different with every bite.
New-Fashioned Mincemeat Pie
2 Golden Delicious apples, peeled and grated (use the large holes on a box grater)
One 12-ounce container frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed (1 1/2 cups)
1 packed cup chopped dried apricots (5 ounces) or dried apples (3 ounces)
3/4 cup (3 ounces) seedless raisins
3/4 cup (3 ounces) golden raisins
3/4 cup (3 ounces) dried currants or more raisins
3/4 cup (3 ounces) dried cranberries
2/3 cup (about 3 ounces) high-quality candied orange peel or glacé oranges
1/3 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces) high-quality candied lemon peel
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup dark rum
1/2 cup Cognac or brandy
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Pastry for a 10-inch double-crust pie
1. At least 1 day before baking the pie, in a large, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven, bring the all of the ingredients except the piecrust a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook at a brisk simmer, stirring often, until the fruits are softened and the liquid almost completely evaporates, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and cool completely. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least overnight or up to 1 week.
2. Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven and place a baking sheet on the rack. Preheat to 375°F.
3. Line a 10-inch pie pan with the bottom crust. Fill with the cold mincemeat. Cover the filling with the top crust and flute the edges. Cut a small hole in the center of the top piecrust.
4. Place the pie on the baking sheet and bake until the top is golden brown and you can see the mincemeat bubbling through the center hole, about 50 minutes. Cool on a wire cake rack for at least 1 hour. Serve warm or at room temperature.