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It's true. I didn't know mincemeat has meat in it traditionally until today. I was under the very persuasive impression that it was a mixture that only looked like meat. And I knew the one I grew up eating, which was my Grandmother's, also did not have meat because she had said it didn't... Fact-checking against the original recipe card has proven otherwise. Silly me.

So this is a meatless version of that original recipe which tastes just as fantastic, and in my opinion better, because though I eat meat occasionally, I don't want it in my desserts.

This recipe makes enough for two batches of mincemeat tarts. However, I usually use just one sheet of puff pastry for 12 tarts and reserve the leftover mincemeat in the fridge for piling onto yogurt or oatmeal throughout the week.

You can use brandy, rum, port, or bourbon instead of whiskey.

Notes: Butter is unsalted.


Ingredients: 1 sheet puff pastry, 1 peeled tart apple such as Granny Smith, 1 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup apple cider, zest and juice of 1 lemon, zest and just of 1 lime, 10-12 large Medjool dates, 1/3 cup shaved almonds, 1 cup raisins, 1/4 cup dried cranberries, 2 tbsp. butter, 1 tsp. allspice, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. ground ginger, 1/4 tsp. ground cloves, 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg, a pinch of salt, 1/2 cup whiskey, cream for brushing on the tarts, and gold sugar sprinkles (optional).

Makes 12 mini tarts.

1. Preheat the oven to 390*F. 2. Grate the apple or process it in a food processor until chopped roughly. Add it to a soup pot along with the cider, orange and lemon zest and juice, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer for 10-15 minutes until reduced by half and thickened. 3. Remove the stones from the dates and pulse them in the processor along with the almonds, raisins, and cranberries until chopped well, like sticky rubble.

4. Add the dried fruit rubble to the apples with the butter and spices. Cook and stir over medium-low for 7-10 minutes until the mixture is thick and glossy. Stir in the whiskey. Set aside to cool.

5. Roll out the thawed puff pastry to a large rectangle roughly 9 x 12 inches in length, but it doesn't have to be perfect. Cut 12 squares, then place them into the cups of a standard muffin tin.

6. Spoon 1 1/2 tbsp. of mincemeat into each cup. Fold in the corners of the pastry square slightly over the mincemeat. Brush the tarts with a bit of cream, then add sugar sprinkles, if using. Bake for 18-20 minutes until puffed and golden.

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