Vegetarian Mincemeat with Apples, Green Tomatoes & Butter

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In days gone by I used a mock mincemeat recipe from a really old version of The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer, but sadly this book has gone missing from my bookshelf. I have a newer edition of the book but I think the recipe in this one has been altered from the original.

So, here’s my current version of Vegetarian Mincemeat. It combines what I can remember from that original recipe with the spices I have available in my pantry. Plus, I have also factored in the amount of green tomatoes and apples I have on hand. The butter in this recipe replaces the suet used in traditional mincemeat.

Once again I have to give kudos to my good friend Pat who allowed me to pick green tomatoes from her garden. She also supplied lovely Gravenstein apples from the Annapolis valley. I used quite a few of the green cherry tomatoes that don’t have a hope of turning red before the killing frosts set in. I found these little green orbs to contain more moisture than their larger cousins so I strained them (once chopped) before adding them to the big pot.

The end result: just under 5 pints of really tasty mock mincemeat.

Ingredients

  • 6 C green tomatoes, very small dice
  • 6 C tart apples, very small dice
  • 3 C raisins
  • 2 C apple cider vinegar
  • 4 C dark brown sugar
  • 2 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp finely grated whole nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 ½ tsp allspice
  • ¼ – ½ tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp kosher salt flakes
  • 2/3 C butter

Preparation

  1. Prepare the green tomatoes and apples. It takes quite a while to dice these ingredients by hand so feel free to use a food processor. Just make sure to work in small batches and use the pulse action. The apples and tomatoes can easily go from being pulsed into an ideal small dice to unusable mush in the blink of an eye. Drain the tomatoes after they have been diced if necessary.
  2. Put everything except the butter into a large pot and bring to the boiling point slowly, stirring occasionally. Note: I’ve used the smaller amount of ground cloves as I find it can be a strong and overpowering spice. Let your taste buds be your guide!
  3. Adjust the heat so the mixture continues to simmer. Continue to stir now and then over the course of approximately 3 hours. The apples take a while to cook. The mincemeat is done when the apples are no longer white. The mixture will be slightly chunky and a dark golden brown when ready to come off the heat (see picture above).
  4. If you need to keep the mincemeat until Christmas have your pint jars and lids sterilized and ready for canning. Process the filled jars according to your canners instructions.

 

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Low Carb, Sugar-free, Gluten-free Cheesecake

Photo by Janet Moore

How’s that for a mouthful! Our local Arts Council hosts a yearly variety show to raise funds for the Peter Oliver Scholarship. This scholarship, named for a man who was famous for mentoring young actors in our small town, helps young people embarking on studies in the arts. This year I am one of the organizers. We serve a variety of cakes, sweet squares and cookies during the intermission. People, in our community, flock to the United Church basement to enjoy the entertainment and to savour the half-time treats. Today I baked a low carb, gluten-free, sugar-free cheesecake for the event.

For those of you who can’t eat sugar and are trying to be gluten-free this easy to make cheesecake just might fit the bill when you get a craving for something sweet. The crust, made with a mixture of ground almonds and ground pecans adds rich flavour and the creamy smooth texture of the cheesecake filling won’t disappoint!

You may be wondering why I have used a number of different sugar substitutes in this recipe. I have found that the end result is simply better when doing so. Each sugar substitute has a slightly different flavour. The stevia can sometimes have a bitter after-taste, the xylitol feels almost cool as it dissolves in the mouth and the sucralose can be almost overwhelmingly sweet on it’s own. I’ve discovered that when I mix them altogether in one recipe the end result is simply better flavour!

Ingredients

For the crust:

  • one cup ground pecans
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 1/4 cup stevia blend (I used Sugar Twin brand)
  • 2 T melted butter

For the Filling:

  • 3 – 8 oz packages of cream cheese
  • 1 cup 18% coffee cream
  • 1/2 cup sucralose
  • 1/2 cup xylitol
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 2 large eggs

For the Topping:

  • 1/2 cup thick plain yogurt
  • 2 T sucralose
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh raspberries

Directions

For the crust:

Preheat oven to 350

  1. In a bowl combine the ground almonds, ground pecans and the stevia blend.
  2. Add the melted butter and mix together.
  3. Place this mixture into an 8”, non-stick, spring-form cake pan.
  4. Pack the mixture firmly and evenly around the bottom of the pan letting it rise slightly up the sides.
  5. Place in the preheated oven for 5 minutes only. Remove from oven and set aside. Do not turn the oven off!

For the filling:

  1. Cut the softened cream cheese into smaller pieces and place into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the 18% coffee cream, sucralose, xylitol and vanilla. Beat, using a hand mixer on high speed until everything is well blended, light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time and continue to beat on high speed until the eggs are well incorporated into the mixture.
  4. Turn the cream cheese filling into the crust lined spring-form cake pan.
  5. Bake in the oven for 30 – 35 minutes until done.

For the Topping:

  1. Let the cheesecake cool completely inside the spring-form cake pan.
  2. Mix yogurt, sucralose and vanilla together until well blended.
  3. Spread evenly on top of the cooled cheesecake.
  4. Arrange fresh raspberries on top of the yogurt mixture. The thin layer of yogurt will keep the raspberries in place!

The cake can be covered with plastic wrap right inside the cake pan and stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it. Run a breadknife carefully around the outside edge to loosen the cake before releasing the spring.

Cheesecake: Photo by Janet Moore

* All photos on this website by Janet Moore