Mincemeat originally had meat in it (in Medieval times) along with fruit and beef suet. The meat was finely minced and was a way of using up leftover meat. The word may sound like an odd concoction as a dessert and evoke an unpleasant visual, but fondly enough the mince does have a sweet flavor to it. The English recipes for mincemeat during the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries consisted of meat and fruit and by the 20th century, the beef was omitted. Mincemeat pie was always a regular during the Christmas holidays in our home. Mom used to make her own mincemeat that included beef and later on she used only the fruit version to make her pies. It is an acquired taste and you either like it or you don’t! That said, put away those preconceived notions and try this recipe…you just might be pleasantly surprised.
Makes 20 to 30 cookies (amounts will vary according to size)
adapted from Jamie magazine
250g unsalted butter, softened
1 egg yolk
grated zest of 1 clementine or orange
1 x 411g jar fruit mincemeat
Preheat the oven to 180C (350f) and line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper. Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until creamy. Add the egg yolk and clementine zest and beat again to combine. Sift in the flour then fold through most of the mincemeat and stir until the mixture starts to come together – use your hands to make a dough, if needed.
Pull off little biscuit-sized clumps of dough, space them evenly over the trays and gently press down slightly to shape into cookies. Dot a little of your saved mince on top of each cookie to make them look extra delicious. Pop them in the oven for 10 minutes, or till golden but still a bit doughy in the middle. Serve warm, or turn onto a wire rack to cool, then store in an airtight container.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: These cookies are soft and so scrumptious. Depending on the size of the cookie, you may need to bake longer than 10 minutes. I found I needed an extra 5 minutes. Enjoy!