Remember when the Dwarves invade Bilbo Baggins’cozy home and demand all sorts of food-stuffs from his probably-too-full pantries? Bofur asks specifically for some mince pie with cheese. Most traditional mince pies are small and utilize apples and LOTS of booze. I decided to update the concept and came up with this extremely rich and intense version of a mince pie with sauce. Hobbits and Dwarves would like this pie, as well as children traveling through wardrobes. You might try this for the holiday season.
New-Fangled Mince Pie
2 cups raisins and/or currants
8 ounces chopped sugar dates
1 cup dried blueberries
1 cup dried apricots, cut into ¼” bits
1½ cups orange juice
½ cup cognac *
4 ounces coarsely chopped walnuts
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cloves
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
5 ounces cold lard or vegetable shortening, cut into ¼” bits
7-9 tablespoons ice water
Optional: some “cheese” on the side (a few slices of sharp Cheddar would be nice)
Optional sauce, recipe below
In a large bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients. Pour into a 7-cup glass container and cover. Refrigerate overnight; stir a couple of times. Place a strainer over a medium bowl and drain the fruit for one hour. Reserve this liquid for the optional sauce below, if desired (you should end up with ¾ cup). Put fruit into a large bowl and add the walnuts, ¼ cup sugar, and spices. Set aside.
Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the lard or shortening and combine well. Mix in the water, starting with 6 tablespoons. Add more water and mix until the dough comes together well and is still moist. Divide dough into a 2/3 and a 1/3 portion. Flatten into discs and wrap each with plastic wrap or put each into covered containers. Refrigerate dough for 30-60 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°. On a floured surface, roll out the 2/3 portion of dough to approximately 13″ and lay in a 9½” glass pie dish. Pour in the fruit/nut mixture. Roll out 1/3 portion of dough to approximately 12″ and lay on top. Trim the edges, fold over and crimp decoratively; reserve scraps. Cut a ½” hole in center. With scraps of dough, cut small decorations and set on top of pie. Spray lightly with water and sprinkle liberally with 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake 46-50 minutes until golden brown. Set on rack. Let cool at least two hours before cutting. Keep leftovers covered at room temperature. Serves 8-10.
* Dark rum would also work, or try a liqueur such as Amaretto or Frangelico.
¾ cup reserved juice (if needed, add some orange juice to bring the amount to ¾ cup)
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon salted butter
⅛ teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine all ingredients in a 1½-quart saucepan, using a whisk. Bring to a rolling simmer with a medium/low heat, whisking frequently. Then turn the heat to low and cook for about 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens, whisking occasionally. Nice with the pie and/or ice cream. Cover and refrigerate leftovers; reheat very slowly. Makes about 1½ cups.
Astrid Tuttle Winegar
Astrid Tuttle Winegar is the author of Cooking for Halflings and Monsters: 111 Comfy, Cozy Recipes for Fantasy-Loving Souls, which is currently available in e-book form on the Amazon Kindle, but will soon be released by Oloris Publishing! Stay tuned for details. Astrid has loved C.S. Lewis since childhood, J.R.R. Tolkien since middle and high school, all Star things, both Trek and Wars, all things Whedon, and many other things besides… She lives in the enchanted city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her husband and dog. Her blog can be found at http://halflingsandmonsters.wordpress.com/. You can check out (and like!) her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/halflingsandmonsters or visit her Twitter feed at http://twitter.com/astridwinegar.