Mincemeat, a mixture of chopped dried fruits, spices, and spirits, is a favorite holiday ingredient most often found in pies and tarts. It was developed more than 500 years ago as a way of preserving meat without salting or smoking, and gradually cooks sweetened it by adding ingredients like apples, oranges, and red wine. Mince pies were made during the twelve days of Christmas, and it became customary to offer a slice of pie or a sugared tart to visiting guests. It’s delicious in muffins, too, and these spicy treats are perfect for Christmas breakfast. You’ll find this and similar holiday recipes in my cookbook Christmas Flavors of Ireland, with signed copies available from www.irishcook.com
MINI MINCEMAT MUFFINS
MAKES 2 DOZEN
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
6 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon. grated orange peel
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 cup prepared mincemeat
Softened butter for spreading
1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Spray two 24-well mini muffin pans with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, milk, butter, orange peel, and juice. Stir in flour mixture, and then stir in mincemeat.
3. Transfer to prepared pans and bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.
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