I woke up early this morning, and finding myself downstairs in the kitchen in the dark surrounded with half cleaned-out cupboards and drawers and a sink more than full with dirty dishes, I opted to make muffins. Breakfast is important, right?
Also, that half jar of mincemeat in the fridge was far more pressing than total kitchen reorganization. (I do this every holiday week – decide to overhaul the kitchen or bedroom or basement, or all three. Most often my gumption runs out after I’ve taken everything out, and before I put it all back away.)
Mincemeat is one of those things that -unlike chocolate and cheese and wine- does not translate well to any season beyond Christmas. Namely January. Eating mince tarts in the middle of January just does not taste the same as the middle of December. But what else do you do with all that mincemeat?
They won’t come out tasting of mince tarts, but of themselves – moist and fruity and wonderfully spiced. You can add chopped apple or pear and pecans or walnuts too, if you like. And if you have a little more than a cup of mincemeat, or a little less, don’t sweat it – they’ll still work.
And the house will smell wonderful when everyone gets up.
Gourmet, December 1997
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup canola or other mild vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 cup all-fruit mincemeat
1 small tart apple, cored and chopped
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 400°F and line twelve muffin cups with paper liners.
In a largish bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In a smaller bowl (or Pyrex measuring cup) stir together the milk, oil and egg, and add it to the flour along with the mincemeat. Stir until the batter is almost combined, then add the apple and nuts and stir just until blended. Don’t worry about getting the lumps out.
Fill the muffin cups almost full and bake for 25 minutes, or until golden and springy to the touch. Serve warm.
Makes 1 dozen muffins.