Last month I posted a question to my readers on Facebook: “Are there any recipes that you’d like me to work on?”
To be honest, I didn’t get very many replies, largely because Facebook only shows my posts to like 30 people unless I pay them to boost my posts. Anyhow, one of my friends suggested that I try making mincemeat pies.
I’ve never eaten a mincemeat pie in my life. It’s just not something that I grew up with or have come into contact with in my life. My friend comes from a British background though, so unsurprisingly she is well acquainted with this particular holiday dessert.
She told me that her favourite part of mincemeat pies is actually the brandy butter that you serve with it. Again, I had no idea what that was… but it sounded good to me.
I looked up mincemeat in a cooking guide that I have, and it describes it as rich and spicy preserve made from chopped fruits, spices, alcohol and beef suet (fat). I immediately knew that wouldn’t be something that I would be making from scratch! It sounds like more work than I care to put in. However, if you want to make your own mincemeat (and I admire you if you do), you can try this recipe from David Lebovitz.
I really didn’t want to make my own, and luckily for me my mother found a bottle of pre-made mincemeat at our local grocery store. I already knew that I would be using puff pastry of some kind, so the last thing to figure out was the brandy butter.
For that, I went straight to the source: my British friend’s mother. She gave me her recipe within minutes of me asking for it (Thanks Gillian!), and I was all set to try my hand at making mincemeat pies.
Except that when it was time to start recipe testing, I found that I really didn’t want to make pies. So instead I opted to use Tenderflake’s puff pastry to create a simple, but still delicious dessert that takes minimal effort to put together. Seriously, the hardest part of this is rolling out the dough!
These Mincemeat Pastry Dippers are light, and easy to snack on while wrapping gifts – no fork required! You can skip the Cherry Brandy Butter if you want to avoid the calories, but it does add a rich creaminess to the mincemeat pastries that I really like.
It’s really important that your puff pastry is at room temperature before you attempt to roll it out. Otherwise, you are going to have a lot of trouble getting it to roll out properly.
Each box of the puff pastry that I used comes with two squares of pastry, and you’ll need to use both for this recipe.
Once you roll each square out to an 11-inch square, all you have to do is spread pre-made mincemeat filling on one half, and then place the other piece of pastry on top. You need to folder over the edges to prevent the filling from coming out, and crimp it with a fork for extra security.
Once that is done, you can score the pastry with the back of a butter knife to help you figure out where to cut your dippers later. It’s a small step that will save you a bit of hassle after the pastry is baked.
The last step before baking is to poke holes into the pastry. This will allow the steam from the mincemeat to escape while the pastry is baking. The pastry will still rise quite a bit in the oven, so don’t be alarmed if that happens.
Once the pastry is baked, you simply have to allow it to cool a bit before cutting and you’re done! Easy peasy! The Cherry Brandy Butter is just as simple, and is best eaten immediately after preparing it. It will harden quite a bit if you put it in the fridge.
Mincemeat Pastry Dippers with Cherry Brandy Butter
For the Mincemeat Pastry Dippers:
- 1 397 g package puff pastry , defrosted
- 1 1/2 cups mincemeat filling , homemade, or store-bought
- 1 beaten egg
- Flour for rolling out the pastry
For the Cherry Brandy Butter:
- 4 oz unsalted butter , at room temperature
- 4 oz icing sugar , sifted
- 3 tbsp Cherry Brandy
To Make the Mincemeat Pastry Dippers:
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Roll out 1 of the pastry squares on a lightly floured surface into an 11-inch square, and set aside.
- Roll the other half of the dough into the same approximate size and place on a parchment lined baking tray.
- Brush 1 inch of the outer edge of the dough on the tray with the beaten egg. Spoon the mincemeat filling onto dough and spreading it thinly towards to edges, being careful not to cover the egg wash.
- Place the top layer of pastry on the mincemeat and roll the edges of the dough to make a tight seal. Using a fork crimp the edges. Score the dough into 1 by 3 1/2 strips, being careful not to cut into the dough.
- Using a fork prick air vents into each strip, to allow for venting during baking.
- Brush with the remaining beaten egg and bake for 20-22 minutes, until golden brown and puffy.
- Cool slightly before cutting as the pastry needs to deflate a bit.
- Cut the pastry along the scored edges with a sharp knife. Use scissors if you’re having difficulty with the knife.
- Move the pastry dippers onto a cookie sheet to cool completely.
To Make the Cherry Brandy Butter:
- Beat butter with a handheld mixer until soft and creamy. If the butter is becoming runny instead of creamy, place the bowl into your freezer for a couple minutes then try again.
- Next, beat in icing sugar and brandy.
- Serve immediately for best results.
- Leftovers can be stored in the fridge, but will need to be thawed out before serving.
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