My brother sent an email today. He lives in Manhattan, The Big Apple, and went to Zabars to find Crosse and Blackwell mincemeat to bring to Dad’s for Christmas. Apparently Dad is supposed to make the mincemeat tarts. Zabars didn’t have it. He went home and looked up mincemeat online.
First, the Crosse and Blackwell site pointed him to Hackensack NJ for the nearest jar of this fruit and sometimes meat mixture that is all apples and raisins and rum and brandy and all kinds of good stuff to put in a short crust and bake.
That didn’t work. So he went further and what did he find? My blog. That’ll teach him for not reading me from time to time!
It may be better that Mom is gone to find that her beloved Crosse and Blackwell label is now owned by Smuckers. But with Kevin in dire straits I was ready to send him my sole jar of mincemeat.
At the last moment, I found it on the Smuckers’ site under “specialty” items and Kevin ordered three jars to be sent directly to Dad pre-Christmas so he can make the tartlets. Mom always had a special Marie Antoinette champagne glass to cut the bottom piece, a precise “Mom” measurement of mincemeat, then used a champagne flute for the “hat.”
Let’s hope Dad figures that out. In the meantime I always remember Mom’s pastry recipe:
1.5 cups flour
1.5 sticks butter, chilled and cubed (3/4 cup)
1 teaspoon salt
3T ice water (maximum, depending upon consistency of the dough, weather, everything)
Pulse the flour, butter and salt in a food processor until it looks like peas or lentils. Add 2T water and pulse. If it comes together right away, it’s done. It shouldn’t look like a solid mass but should pull together if you grab a tablespoon full with your hand and it comes together. If it doesn’t, add a few more drops of ice water until it does so.
Hey, I’m not the pastry lady! My hands melt the stuff. DO NOT overwork the dough as you will enhance the gluten (which you want in bread but not in pastry) and make the resulting dough tough. Place the dough on a clean flat surface and make it into a small round. Wrap it in plastic and let it rest in the frig for at least 20 minutes. This allows the dough to relax and the gluten strands to stop forming.
Roll out and use your preferred cutters. I wish I’d asked for Mom’s. Mincemeat tarts were always a family staple from Thanksgiving through Christmas and while the glasses she used to cut the pastry were not valuable to any collector, I actually think Kevin should have them for offering mincemeat this year.
So, Dad, here’s how to make Mom’s mincemeat tarts, except for the year that she and A.L. made their own, with meat! I told you this already – they went back to C&B that is now owned by Smuckers.
There’s no getting near the post office today, the busiest day of the year for shipping. And USPS site is down is well and holding postage funds that it won’t allow me to print. Happy holidays to you, too, Uncle Sam!
It is going to be a new year and we can only hope to have a better economy and our troops home from Iraq. Wishing you the best this holiday season – Dee