We started out on the Saturday of our Swalloween dinner party with the best of dessert intentions: we were going to make pie. Let us not forget that neither Mike nor I are bakers – pie crust was one of two things (the other being fried chicken) that my mom couldn't cook. They were her kryptonite…and therefore, it's one of those things I haven't really ever attempted from scratch. Flipping through the November issue of Bon Appetit, Mike decided his contribution to the dinner party would be pie – a mock mincemeat pie. WITH A LATTICE TOP, no less. Oh boy.
It started out just fine. The filling was tedious but the smells told us it was well worth it. When it was time to tackle the crust, that's when things got dicey. Long story short, it didn't come together. Time really got the best of us and the panic set in as to what we'd serve to end the meal. In a moment straight out of Chopped (holy stocked fridge, batman!), we baked off some phyllo dough, made some boozy whipped cream and threw in the candied ginger I randomly bought at the market.
It was delicious. Actually, beyond delicious. It was wolfed down by 8 people in a symphony of "mmm"s and "yumm"s. Visually stunning, seasonally appropriate but light enough to end a filling winter meal – it's a winner, accidentally or not.
Mincemeat Napoleons with Rum Cream and Candied Ginger Petals – makes enough filling for 16 napoleons. A full package of phyllo dough gives you endless pastry layers.
For the filling:
– Place 1/3 of apples in processor. Using on/off turns, chop into small pieces. Transfer chopped apples to large saucepan. Repeat chopping remaining apples in 2 more batches in processor. Add to saucepan. Place all dried fruit in processor. Using on/off turns, chop until beginning to stick together. Add dried fruits to saucepan with apples. Add sugar, molasses, rum. brandy, cornstarch, butter, orange peel, lemon peel, spices and sea salt. Stir to blend. Simmer over medium-low heat until mixture is very thick, stirring often to prevent scorching – about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat. Transfer filling to large bowl and cool until warm but not cold.
– Preheat oven to 350. On a large, nonstick cookie sheet, place one layer of phyllo perfectly flat. Using a basting or pastry brush, brush layer of pastry evenly with melted butter. Top with another layer of phyllo and repeat process. Do this until you have 4 layers of phyllo on top of one another with butter brushed on the top of the stack. With a very sharp knife, score the pastry into desired squares or rectangle shapes. Separate slightly and place in over. Bake until golden brown – for me, this was about 5 minutes. Allow to cool thoroughly.You want to have three pieces – regardless of their shape – per dessert you want to serve.
– In a stand mixer, combine rum, cream and sugar. Beat on medium-low heat until mostly stiff peaks form. Place in fridge until needed. Set ginger aside until assembly.
– Place one square of baked phyllo on serving plate. Carefully spread the slightly warm filling over the phyllo pastry, being careful not to break it. Top that layer with another piece of phyllo dough. Repeat and top with one more piece of phyllo. After it's all assembled, dollop with the chilled whipped cream and a sprinkle of candied ginger. Serve immediately.