Meemaw’s Pork Mincemeat and Christmas Pork Fruitcake

Meemaw’s Pork Mincemeat and a Christmas cake.
This is a recipe for pork mincemeat – a very old recipe from my maternal great-grandmother and grandmother via one of my aunts.

My aunt said that one of the “problems” of making this stuff is that if she turns her back after the roasting, some of it would “disappear” and she would catch one of her sons tucking into a leftover biscuit with a bit too much gusto.

This is a reduced size recipe. Meemaw made 8 quarts in a batch and usually made two or three batches. My aunt cut it down when she began making it.

The mincemeat mixture is good in dressing or stuffing for fowl or pork. It is also good in fried pies or little tarts. I also seem to remember that Meemaw made a side dish with this mincemeat and chestnuts.

MeeMaw’s Pork Mincemeat (Makes enough for two large tube or Bundt pan cakes)

1 pound lean cooked pork cut into strips (can use uncooked-I usually use leftover roast pork)
1/3 pound pork fat cut into strips
1 pound dried apples cut into pieces
1 pound Sultanas or golden raisins
1 pound mixed peel
1/2 pound citron
1/2 pound dried pineapple
1/2 pound blanched almonds

zest and juice of one large orange
zest and juice of two lemons
zest and juice of one grapefruit
1 teaspoon cinnamon, freshly ground
1 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground
1 teaspoon allspice, freshly ground
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1 teaspoon kosher salt

2/3 cup sweet sherry
1/2 cup brandy
1/2 cup rum

Gather the first 8 ingredients on a tray or platter.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Using a food grinder with the coarsest blade, alternate ingredients as you put them through the grinder so they are combined in a Dutch oven or roasting pan large enough to hold everything.
After grinding, mix well with your hands.

Add the next 8 ingredients, cover tightly and cook for 2 hours.

Remove from oven.
Place a metal colander in a large pan, line with cheesecloth and spoon the mixture into the colander.
Stir gently, turning the mixture over to drain away most of the liquid fat.

Return the mixture to the cooking pot.
Add the sherry, brandy and rum, stir well.
Cook over low heat, stirring constantly for about 20 to 30 minutes.
Ladle into sterilized jars, cover tightly and store in a cool place (or the refrigerator if you live in a hot climate) for one week prior to use.
Once opened, store in refrigerator.

If you want to store this for longer at room temp, it should be canned under pressure, however it also keeps nicely in the freezer for at least a year. (I’ve kept it that long.)

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Meemaw’s Christmas Fruit Cake with Pork Mincemeat

Ingredients for the cake:

Pork Mincemeat 1 1/2 pounds (prepare at least a week ahead)
See below for recipe.

currants or sultanas 15 oz
chopped pecans 2 cups
vanilla 1 Tablespoon
rum or brandy 1/4 cup (or a mixture of the two)
butter melted 1/2 cup
brown sugar 2 cups
eggs, separated 3 extra large
baking soda 1 1/2 teaspoons (bicarbonate of soda)
water 1/4 cup
cake or pastry flour 3 cups

1. Preheat oven to 275°. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan (can use bundt pan)
2. in a large bowl, combine mincemeat, currants or sultanas, nuts, vanilla and liquor – set aside
3. In a large mixer bowl, combine butter, sugar and egg yolks: beat well. Combine baking soda and water, add to mixture.
4. Sift flour over mincemeat mixture, stir to mix well.
Combine contents of both bowls; mix well. (Batter will be stiff)
5. In small bowl of mixer, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold into batter.
6. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake at 275° for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until done. (Cake will pull away from sides of pan)
7. cool slightly, remove from pan. Cool completely and wrap to store.
(Wrap in cheesecloth – *spritz with rum, brandy, flavored brandy or flavored liquor – then wrap in plastic wrap or aluminum foil) Place in cake tin.

Cake keeps very well.

* I keep a small spritzer bottle in the kitchen just for liquor – the alcohol will evaporate rapidly from cooked foods and will evaporate in about 3 days when used on baked goods like this cake – for people like me who have an allergy to alcohol.

This method uses much less alcohol than pouring it on the cake and there is less chance of having soggy lumps saturated with liquor.

There is a commercial rum and brandy mix that is usually only available during the holidays. With the addition of vanilla – about 1 teaspoon to 1 cup of the liquor, this gives a very nice flavor to this type of cake.

Cherry Heering or Peter Heering the cherry liquer is also an excellent flavoring for fruit cakes.

On the eGullet forum there was discussion about a pork cake and another member made the mincemeat and the cake from my recipe and posted about it along with some excellent photos of the process and the end result:

2 Responses to Meemaw’s Pork Mincemeat and Christmas Pork Fruitcake

  1. Charla Strother says:

    For years and years I have searched for a recipe like this. Today I think I have found it. I have asked cousins for my great gm’s recipe and no one seemed to know what I was talking about. I wanted to at least try the recipe I had heard my daddy talk about at Christmas time. He spoke of her fruit cake and neighbors coming by horse and buggy in the snow just to get a piece of it at the holidays. He said he could remember it as a child, but no one had the recipe. He remember his granny coming to spend the winter with them, the cooking going on before Thanksgiving and the pantry being filled with tins of granny’s fruit cakes. He remember the ritual of the whiskey being poured over the fruit cakes each week and finally the “cake cutting” ceremony at Christmas time. The house being filled with family and friends to celebrate. I could only imagine. I’ve wanted to make this cake as long as I can remember and now I think I’ve found the recipe. If it isn’t, my mind won’t let me believe anything different. I can’t wait till Thanksgiving to give it a whirl. I am 62 and have grandchildren and they love to help me bake. I can’t wait for them to get in on the fun of making Meemaw’s fruit cake. I know it will make new memories for them. Thank you.

    • asenjigal says:

      You don’t have to wait for the fall to make the cake or enjoy it. It was made at that time of the year when I was a child (in the 40s) because that’s when the hogs were butchered.
      Nowadays, fresh pork is available all year so it can be made at any time – both the mincemeat and the cake keep well.
      There were always enough cakes made that there was “carryover” well into the spring and my great grandmother loved a thin slice of the pork cake with her afternoon tea.
      The cake just gets better with age.

      Here’s the link to the eGullet discussion about Pork Cake

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