recipe: holiday mince crisp

Mincemeat pie is almost as divisive as fruitcake at the holidays, and usually beloved by the same people. I’m a closet lover of both. But, as with many food things, I am selective.

This recipe is my attempt at a version of mincemeat that will appeal to a wider audience. It’s less stodgy thanks to the addition of fresh fruit and replacing soggy pie crust with a flavorful crunchy topping.

holiday mince crisp

Recipe by Chef Annette TomeiCourse: DessertCuisine: holiday dessert, dessertDifficulty: Medium


Required Advanced Prep



Traditional holiday flavors are reimagined in a fresher, simpler twist on a classic mincemeat pie. It’s even easily converted to vegan and/or gluten-free with simple pantry substitutions. The dried fruit component of the filling is most flavorful when made at least one week in advance and held in the refrigerator.


  • dried fruit filling
  • 1/3 cup chopped dried apples

  • 1/3 cup chopped dried figs

  • 1/3 cup chopped dried apricots

  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped dried cherries

  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped golden raisins

  • 1/4 cup chopped candied ginger

  • 1 whole orange, washed well, chopped (peel, pulp, juice) – slices can be pulsed in a food processor

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt

  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup butter OR coconut oil (vegan)

  • 1/2 cup rum

  • 1/2 cup water (even better if you use apple cider – but not apple juice)

  • 1/2 cup rum

  • crisp topping
  • 1/2 cup rolled old-fashioned oats

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour OR gluten-free substitute

  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar

  • 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 5 Tablespoons butter, melted OR coconut oil (vegan)

  • finishing the crisp
  • 1 Tablespoon butter OR coconut oil (vegan)

  • 2 Granny Smith apples, cored, 1/2-inch dice (peel or not, your choice)

  • 2 Bosc pears, cored, 1/2-inch dice (peel or not, your choice)

  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

  • Pinch table salt


  • dried fruit filling
  • In a large heavy-bottom pot, combine all ingredients EXCEPT the last 1/2 cup rum (that’s for later). This can be done in a slow cooker, although I have not tested the timing on that method.
  • Heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Maintain low to medium-low heat until liquid is absorbed and dried fruits are plumped. 30-40 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the final 1/2 cup of rum. Scrape onto a baking sheet to cool thoroughly before transferring to an airtight container and refrigerating for at least 1 week (2 is better).
  • crisp topping
  • In a mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients.
  • Pour in the melted butter and work together until all flour is moistened. The texture should be moist clumps, not smooth.
  • to finish
  • Preheat oven to 375 F and remove the dried fruit mixture from the refrigerator (allow it to come to room temperature).
  • Heat a 10-inch cast iron or oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. If your skillets are NOT oven-safe, prepare an 8 or 9-inch square baking dish with butter.
  • In a bowl, combine the diced apples, pears, sugar, and salt.
  • Melt the butter in the skillet, then add the apples and pears.
  • Sauté the fresh fruit until it starts to turn golden brown and the moisture has cooked off.
  • Remove from the heat and fold in the dried fruit mixture. If you are using a baking pan instead of the skillet, transfer the fruit mixture at this time.
  • Evenly crumble the crisp topping over the top of the fruit mixture. Set the pan on a baking sheet, just in case it drips.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes on the middle rack, or until the crisp topping is golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and place a baking mitt or dry towel over the handle off the skillet so you don’t accidentally pick it up!
  • Cool the crisp for 10 minutes before serving with your choice of whipped cream or ice cream.


  • The crisp topping can be prepared up to 3 days in advance and held in the refrigerator for last-minute assembly. The whole dessert can be prepared one day in advance and baked before serving.

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