Fancy the flavour of mince pies without all the work of rolling pastry? Then my Old Fashioned Mincemeat Oat Squares are for you! A recipe from my late Mom’s recipe box, the smell of these yummy squares cooking always reminds me of my childhood. Perfect for Christmas, they are quick and easy to make and full of all the flavours of the season.
I like to think of this recipe as an amalgamation of Canadian and British traditions. A British Christmas doesn’t typically involve the cookies and squares we so enjoy in Canada and the US. It’s more about Christmas Pudding and Mince Pies over here. However this recipe combines a traditional British ingredient – mincemeat – with a delicious North American Christmas dessert – squares. It’s a very satisfying combination!
What is Mincemeat?
Mincemeat is a very traditional ingredient here in the UK. Today it is a mixture of dried fruit, sugar, candied peel, spices and fat all cooked together. Sometimes brandy or rum is added for flavour. Mincemeat may contain nuts as well. Despite its name, mincemeat doesn’t actually contain any meat.
In the Tudor era, and even up to Victorian times, mincemeat did contain meat. While it was usually served encased in pastry, mincemeat was thought of more as a main course than the dessert it is today, and was served all year round, not just at Christmas.
Today in the UK, we mostly eat mincemeat in ‘mince pies’, little sweet pastry tarts served as a snack or as part of dessert.
While I can buy jars of mincemeat easily in any grocery store, it can be harder to source elsewhere. Even if you can buy it locally, homemade mincemeat really is lovely and if you have the time it’s well worth trying. You can click here for a very straight-forward recipe. I also found a suet and sugar free recipe here on Vicky’s wonderful Gluten Free SCD and Veggie Blog. However, rest assured I almost always use ready made mincemeat in this recipe.
Top Tips for Making Mincemeat Oat Squares
Use ordinary oats, never the instant variety.
The texture of these squares means it’s important they are cold before they are cut. Use a sharp knife. I cut the whole pan up into squares at once as it’s easier.
The squares will keep in the fridge for three or four days. Be sure to store them in a container with a tight fitting lid so they do not dry out.
If possible, bring the cut Mincemeat Oat Squares to room temperature before serving.
My Mom’s Mincemeat Oat Squares give the flavour of mince pies without all the work of rolling pastry and the crumble topping really is scrumptious. They are delicious served as part of a cookie tray or just on their own with a nice hot cup of tea or coffee.
Mincemeat Oat Squares Printable Recipe
- ¾ cup rolled oats (not instant)
- ¾ cup all purpose (plain) flour
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup brown sugar, packed
- ½ cup butter, (cold, cut in small cubes)
- 1¼ cups mincemeat (store bought is fine, but choose a good brand)
- 2 tablespoon rum, brandy, Cointreau or Grand Mariner
- (use orange juice instead if you need an alcohol free option)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F or about 170°C (160°C for fan ovens).
- Grease a 7-inch square pan and line the bottom with baking parchment.
- Put the mincemeat in a small bowl and stir in the rum, brandy, Cointreau or Grand Mariner. Set aside.
- Combine the flour with the butter in a medium bowl and cut the butter into the flour until mixture resembles fine crumbs. You can use a food processor for this or do it by hand with an old-fashioned pastry blender.
- Add the oats, baking soda, salt and sugar to the butter and flour mixture and mix thoroughly.
- Press half of this mixture into the prepared pan.
- Put the pan in the freezer and the remaining oat mixture in the fridge.
- After 15 minutes, remove the square pan from the freezer and the remaining oat mixture from the fridge.
- Carefully spread the boozy mincemeat over the top of the oat mixture in the square pan.
- Gently sprinkle the remaining oat mixture evenly over top of the mincemeat.
- Bake in the oven for about 25 to 30 minutes or until the squares are lightly golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool, then place the squares in the pan in the fridge for about half an hour or so before cutting.
- Once the squares are cut, it's best to allow them to come to room temperature before serving.
- Leftovers will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for several days.