Ye Olde Minced Meat Pie

  • February 13, 2011 2:36 PM GMT
    It is still possible to buy jars of Old Fashioned Mincemeat with bits of white suet in but apparntly a lot of people think suet is some disgusting bit of animal sed to cheapen the mixture.

    In past years I've pigged out on Xmas Mince Pies but this year just couldn't face eating more than two or three before eventually throwing the rest of the packet out.

    Cristine, when I went into London Bridge Hospital for the day of bowel cleaning I was allowed out for a few minutes to explore the closest area and there is a great old fashioned market building barely 50 yards from the hospital. The fish stalls had more kinds of fish than I've ever seen and I had no idea what most were.
    There was a meat pie stall boasting the Best Pork Pies In England and they really looked it but whether they can match our Halifax pies is debateable. I was on a liquids only fast so I couldn't try them.
  • February 13, 2011 10:56 AM GMT
    Mincemeat Recipes and Mincemeat History

    Mincemeat pieTraditional mincemeat aka mince-meat was basically a mixture of fruits and spices that was cooked with minced meat and or beef suet and doused with brandy, rum, or whiskey. Mince-meat improves and becomes more moist as the weeks pass and so is generally allowed to mature for at least four weeks before using. If a person is attempting to make a more traditional mince-meat filling for mincemeat pies, the maturing mix should be checked regularly during the aging process in order to prevent it from becoming dry. Stir the maturing mixture and if it does appear to be dry or drying out, add about one quarter of a cup of dry sherry or brandy.

    "Thoroughly cleanse four pounds of currants, and remove the stones from four pounds of raisins; cut up two pounds of candied citron, one pound of candied lemon, and one pound of orange-peel, into shreds, or very small dice; remove the skin, and then chop four pounds of fresh beef-suet, and place this with the currants and the candied peel in an earthen pan; next chop the raisins with four pounds of peeled apples, and add them to the other ingredients. Trim away all the sinewy parts from eight pounds of roasted sirloin of beef, and chop all the lean of the meat quite fine; this will produce about four pounds, which must also be placed in the pan.To the foregoing must now be added four pounds of moist sugar, four ounces of ground spice—consisting of nutmegs, cloves, and cinnamon in equal proportions, with the grated rind of twelve oranges, and of the same number of lemons; the whole must then be thoroughly mixed together, and pressed down to a level in the pan. Two bottles of brandy, and a like quantity of Madeira, sherry or port, should be poured into the mince-meat. Put the lid on the pan, place a cloth over it, and tie it down close, so as to exclude the air as much as possible, and also to prevent the evaporation of the brandy, etc. The mince-meat should be kept in a cool place, and will be fit for use a fortnight after it is made."

    "Boil four lemons till quite tender, then pound them in a mortar or chop them up while warm, adding to them two pounds of pounded loaf sugar; let this stand till next day, then add two pounds of suet, two pounds of currants, one pound of raisins chopped, a little brandy, one ounce of mixed spice, and port wine, to taste, say half a pint of brandy and wine together."

    "To equal proportions of roast-beef, raisins, currants, suet, candied citron, orange, lemon, spices and sugar, add a proportionate weight of stewed pears and preserved ginger, the grated rind of three dozen oranges and lemons, and also their juice, one bottle of old rum, one bottle of brandy, and two of old port."

    This type of mince-meat and fruit pie seems to have developed out of the remnants of a medieval food tradition of spiced meat dishes, usually minced mutton, that survived because of their association with Christmas. Because of this association, these mince-meat and fruit pies in time sometimes came to be known as Christmas Pies.

    (from a manuscript circa 1390)
    "Take veel ysode and grinde it smale, take harde eyren isode and ygrond and do therto with prunes hoole, dates icorue, pyn and Raisons corance, hool spices and powdo, sug, salt, and make a litell coffyn and do this fars therinne, and bake it and sue it forth."

    A rewording by the editor for clarity:
    Take veal boiled and grind it small. Take ground hard-boiled eggs, and do there-to with whole prunes, cored dates, pine nuts and currants, whole and powdered spices, sugar and salt. And make a little pie shell and do this filling there-in. Cover it and bake it and serve it forth.

    Though modern associations of pies are as a dessert, "minced" pies and later "mincemeat pies" were initially a main course dish with with more meat than fruit (a mixture of meat, dried fruits, and spices). As fruits and spices became more plentiful in the seventeenth century (1600s), the spiciness of the pies increased accordingly.

    Pastry cases from this era were actually called coffens from the local vernacuclar of coffin, dead box because it contained the flesh of dead creatures

    • 2573 posts
    June 9, 2011 4:13 PM BST



    The "stuff" that they call mince pies in the States bears no resemblance to UK mince pies and can be "very nasty".  I do not know why, maybe Hershey's Chocolates developed an American recipie.  They certainly ruined the Cadbury's that they make here in the US.