I never realized how much my mom likes… no, loves this pie until a few years ago when I didn’t make it for one of our holiday dinners. I haven’t heard the end of it since.
Literally, every Thanksgiving and Christmas I’m asked “You’re going to make the minced pie, right?” It’s not really a question. There’s a whole undercurrent of threat in her tone. Really, she should be adding “or else” to the end of her question.
This pie actually started with my paternal grandmother. She had gotten the recipe from a magazine issue that dated several decades ago, possibly in “Good Housekeeping” and maybe the 1940’s. Don’t quote me on that! Eventually, her pie making days were behind her and the task became mine. I was already doing a pretty good job (if I do say so myself!) in the world of pie making, so it was a fairly smooth transition.
I have made some changes to the initial recipe, partly out of need (I’ve never seen lemon marmalade at the store), and partly out of desire. I add cornstarch so all the juice doesn’t spill out the moment I cut out a slice, and now that fresh cranberries are readily available I like to throw those in, too, for good measure. There’s a couple of other changes in the spices, for the same reason.
Apple-Spice Minced Pie Recipe
- 3 cups cored, peeled, and finely chopped apple (I use a mix of sweet and sour apples. DON’T FORGET TO KEEP THE PEELS AND CORES!)
- 2 cups fresh cranberries, finely chopped (measure first, then chop)
- 1 cup raisins
- 1/3 cup citrus marmalade
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
- 1 Tbsp. finely minced fresh ginger, or 1 tsp. dried ground ginger
- 2 tsps. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
- 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
- 1 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped (measure before chopping)
Put the raisins in a heat-proof bowl and pour just enough boiling water over them to cover them. Allow them to soak while you prep your other materials, as this will allow them to soften up for the pie. Drain the water before adding them to the other ingredients (it’s good compost water or just water a plant with it once it is cool!).
For chopping the apples, I use my apple peeler and corer gadget, then place the spiral cut apples into my chopping box with the dice-cut plates. Works perfectly every time! For the cranberries, I just use a food processor. To chop the nuts, I put the whole nuts into a zip-type plastic bag and beat the crud out of them with the dull side of a heavy knife.
Put all ingredients except for the apples and cranberries into a large bowl. Mix until thoroughly combined. Add the apples and cranberries and gently mix until combined again. This makes enough for a very full 9 inch pie, possibly with some leftover. I will make a mini-pie with leftover pie dough scraps and bake it.
Preheat the oven to 425° F and set the filling aside while you roll out the pie dough. Line your pie pan with one layer of dough and pour in the filling. Do not overfill the pan or else you will have liquid spilling out in the oven as it bakes! Top with another layer of dough with holes cut to allow steam to escape. A decorative lattice top, or a layer of cut out pieces of dough also works well, but the filling should be mostly covered with dough.
Bake the pie at 425° F for 10 minutes, the drop the heat to 350° and bake for about another 30 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbling near the middle. Allow the pie to cool before serving to allow the juices to thicken. This is perfect with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream on the side!