Mincemeat, and mince pies, have been a traditional festive favourite as far back as the 1400s where kings and the wealthy served meat and fruit pies within extravagant feasts. By the Victorian era, people started to move away from using meat within mincemeat and the treats also shrank in size making them much more similar to the individual, fruity snacks we enjoy and love today.
The Country Range Mincemeat is a traditional mix of raisins, sultanas, currants and is suitable for vegan and vegetarian diets. The Ayrshire College team who were finalists in the March 2020 Grand Final of the Country Range have shared five innovative ideas for how to use mincemeat for much more than just your mince pies…
1/ Classic Baked Apples
Use the mincemeat with butter, citrus zest and breadcrumbs as a stuffing, add to your apples and then bake. Serve with a cider apple syrup, mini caramel filled donut and clotted cream ice cream. This dessert is served on the menu within the college restaurants The Salt and Barrel and The Westerly.
2/ Mincemeat Suffle
Warm the mincemeat in a pan with some grated zest of lemon and orange, then fold in stiffly whisked egg whites. Fill well- buttered, chilled ramekins with the mixture and bake at 180°C for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden. Simply serve with some dark rum flavoured crème fraiche.
3/ Savoury Canapes
Using filo or puff pastry make little parcels with the mincemeat, some tangy blue cheese or mild and creamy brie or camembert, then add walnuts will bring some added crunch. Perfect nibbles for Hogmanay with a glass of something chilled!
4/Festive Baked Alaska
Take the usual sponge base and add some Chinese stem ginger, spread on marmalade and layer with caramel and rum soaked clementine segments. Take vanilla ice cream and mix the mincemeat in with it and then shape neatly into a dome shape. Place the dome in the freezer or blast chiller while you make your Italian meringue. When ready, take your dome and add to the top of the sponge base. Then pipe your meringue elaborately around the dome ensuring there are no gaps. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios then bake in a hot oven until golden brown. Using a blowtorch to finish if you wish and serve with a winter fruit sauce.
5/ Mince Pie Martini
Make a syrup with golden castor sugar, mincemeat and water, then cool and strain the mixture. Muddle the leftover mincemeat and shake with the alcohols and syrup. To serve: dampen the rims of 4 martini glasses, dip in the sugar and spice mixture and strain the cocktail into the glasses.
“Cooking simple dishes very we is just as important as learning to produce complex dishes with many elements. Let the flavours speak for themselves.”
ABOUT: AYRSHIRE COLLEGE
At the time of the final students Ewan Baird, Ryan Rafferty and Rebecca Crossan were undertaking SVQ Level 6 in Professional Cookery at Ayrshire College, mentored by their chef lecturer Annmarie Farr.
Rebecca won the Excellence Award for Outstanding Achievement in her course for 2 years in a row. All three students are now working or looking for opportunities within the hospitality industry, with Ewan going on to study HND Professional Cookery.