This mincemeat pie is similar to the mincemeat we had growing up during the holidays but with bear fat in the crust as one of a few tweaks to a classic recipe, I think I’ve found a new holiday favorite. This pie blurs the line between sweet and savory and the bear fat in the crust makes this a multi-animal pie that does great justice to the animals I’ve harvested. I’ve also substituted pork back fat for suet, just because I had plenty of it. This pie is sure to please.
This recipe is for both the filling and the crust and are loosely based on “Au Sable Valley Venison Mincemeat” recipe from the L.L. Bean Game Cookbook.
Our Two Mincemeat Pie Adaptation
2 cups ground cooked venison (leftover roast perhaps)
3 cups chopped tart apples
1 cup chopped suet
¾ cup seedless raisins
¾ cup currants
¾ to 1 cup stock
½ cup chopped dried apricots (optional)
4 Tb. apple or beach plum jelly
2 Tb. blackstrap molasses
1½ cups light brown sugar, tightly packed
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves
½ tsp. ginger
½ tsp. nutmeg (or mace)
¼ tsp. allspice
¼ cup cider
1. Pre-heat oven to 400°
2. Combine all ingredients, except brandy, in a medium saucepan and simmer for 1 hour, stirring often.
3. Once cooked, allow mixture to cool to room temperature and stir in brandy to taste.
4. Place the bottom crust into a pie pan and add half the filling in an even layer.
5. Lay over the top crust so it overhangs the edges of the pan by an inch. Press the corners of the crusts together and trim the excess crust.
6. Repeat steps 4-5 with remaining filling for second pie.
7. Place pies in oven and bake until crust is golden brown, approximately 40-45 minutes.
8. Remove the pies and let cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes before serving.
Recipe for 2 Two-Crust Pies
I’m no baker, but if you’ve seen our Thanksgiving Special, you’ll know I made a pretty tasty crust by substituting rendered bear fat for lard in the following recipe. If you have a tried and true pie crust recipe, feel free to use that.
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 cup chilled bear fat
½ cup cold milk
1. Sift (and measure sifted) the flour. Resift with the salt.
2. With a pastry cutter, cut half of the bear fat into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
3. Cut in the remaining 4 tablespoons of bear fat until the crumbles are the size of large green peas.
4. Add ½ cup cold milk and gently mix with a fork until evenly incorporated. Squeeze a small amount of the mixture in the palm of your hand and if it doesn’t hold together, add in an additional tablespoon of milk.
5. Lay down a piece of plastic wrap and dump the mixture out onto the plastic. Gently press together until the mixture forms a loose ball. Do not overwork. Wrap the ball in the plastic wrap and set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
6. Remove chilled dough and divide into four parts, two of the parts (the top crust) slightly larger than the other two parts, and roll out on a floured surface.