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mincemeat-pie-msg - 11/7/08


Period mincemeat pies. Recipes.


NOTE: See also the files: pies-msg, tarts-msg, fruit-pies-msg, meat-pies-msg, minced-meat-art, meatloaf-msg, sausages-msg, veal-msg, puddings-msg, fruits-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



Date: Mon, 12 Oct 1998 07:05:54 -0500

From: vjarmstrong at aristotle.net (Valoise Armstrong)

Subject: Re: SC - Tartys in Applis-NEW recipe-enjoy


Tyrca wrote:

>Very interesting, Ras, and it brings up a question that I have had for

>some time, about mincemeat.  I grew up with mincemeat pies for

>Christmas as something with _meat_ in them.  My mother usually used

>leftover roast beef or venison, put it through a hand grinder, and

>added the apples and raisins, and canned the filling to use for the

>holidays. It is my father's favorite.  As I grew older, and went more

>out into the world, I discovered that other people I talked to had

>never heard of meat in mince pies.  They thought I was crazy.


>Did they really use meat in mincemeat pies in period?  Or is my family

>just an abberation?  Any recipes?  Anyone?


Fruit in medieval meat pies was a very common occurance.


Actually, until the second half of the fifteenth century recipes for meat

pies with fruit seem to be much more common than for fruit pies without

meat. Many meat pies were baked in a heavy flour and water crust that

served mostly as a container for the ingredients and could stand up under

long cooking times. Some writer's have claimed that the innovation of a

lighter and more edible pie crust and suggested that this new pie crust

made the fruit pies (which needed shorter cooking times) much more popular.


This is all supposition on the part of the historians so I set out to see

if I could verify it by scanning a number of cookbooks for recipes for

fruit pies that did not include meat. Out of about twenty English, French

and German cookbooks from the 14th to 16th century one percent or fewer

recipes were for fruit pies in the earlier two centuries while twelve

percent of all the 16th century recipes were for fruit only pies.


These are imperfect statistics since most of my 16th C. sources were German

- - so it might be a regional fad.





Date: Mon, 12 Oct 1998 21:59:41 EDT

From: WOLFMOMSCA at aol.com

Subject: Re: SC - Mincemeat Pies


In a message dated 98-10-12 08:59:16 EDT, Tyrca wrote:

<< Did they really use meat in mincemeat pies in period?  Or is my family

  just an abberation?  Any recipes?  Anyone? >>


The Good Hous-wives Treasurie, 1588


To Make Minst Pyes


Take your Veale and perboyle it a little, or mutton.  Then set it a cooling:

and when it is colde, take three pound of suit to a legge of mutton, or fower

pound to a fillet of Veale, and then mince them small by themselves, or

together whether you will.  Then take to season them halfe an unce of Sinamon,

a little Pepper, as much Salt as you think will season them, either to the

mutton or to the Veale, take eight yolkes of Egges when they be hard, half a

pinte of rosewater full measure, halfe a pound of Suger. Then straine the

Yolkes with the Rosewater and the Suger and mingle it with your meats.  If ye

have any Orrenges or Lemmans you must take two of them, and take the pilles

very thin and mince them very smalle, and put them in a pound of currans, six

dates, half a pound of prunes.  Laye Currans and Dates upon the top of your

meate.  You must take two or three Pomewaters or Wardens and mince with your

meate...; if you will make good crust put in three or foure yolkes of egges, a

little Rosewater, and a good deale of Suger.


Now, I dunno about y'all, but that looks to make into one humunguous pie.

Here's how I would do it.


1 lb. of cooked red meat (doesn't really matter what kind)

1/2 lb. suet

      Mince these up real small (rough grind if you've got a grinder)


1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. salt (if you wish)

       Mix this in with your ground meat.


2 hard-boiled egg yolks

2 Tbsp. rosewater

2 Tbsp. sugar

        Mash these together, then mix it in with the meat


Finely minced peel of 1/2 of a lemon (or orange)

8 prunes, finely minced

2 c. minced apple or pear

         Mix this in with the meat


Put the resulting mixture into a pre-baked pie crust.


Mince 1/4 c. of currants and 3 dates, then scatter across the top of the



Top with a crust if you wish, or simply cover the pie with tinfoil.  Bake at

350 degrees for about 45 minutes if using a top crust, or 35 minutes covered

with foil, then 10 minutes uncovered.


Serve hot.


I remember my Grandmother's first taste of a Dromedary mix mince pie.  She was

heard to complain bitterly that it wasn't mincemeat, it was mince fruit, and

how dare they lie to her on the box.  ;-)





Date: Tue, 06 Jun 2000 09:48:30 -0400

From: "Jeff Gedney" <JGedney at dictaphone.com>

Subject: Re: SC -Mus, Brei and confusion


Adamantius (long may he wave) did write:

> Oh, definitely! A terrine, though, is generally made from raw meat,

> etc., packed into an earthenware pot/mold, and baked, while a mortrews

> is, as far as I know, invariably made from minced, and pounded,

> previously cooked meat, then thickened with bread or other starchy

> stuff.


Heiatt has a Caudon of Beef in an "Ordinance of Pottage", which reads

as a minced beef mixture, which is molded, and cooked in a "Coffin".


> As for the idea of mortrews being molded, it's a nice idea, and

> makes sense, but how much evidence do you really have for this actually

> being done? It occurs to me that unless you have a recipe or a specific

> reference to mortrews in connection with molds, a feast description, or

> some such (which you may actually have, for all I know), it would be

> hard to make that strong a case for it. Of course it's still perfectly

> viable as speculation.


My personal theory is that they used Prebaked molded shells of Coffin dough

as baking dishes. Then the Dough could be broken off and given to the

staff, or given out with the crusts to the poor.

Certainly a number of forcemeat type recipes seem to be placed in coffins

but dont otherwise read like pie recipes. I think that it is likely that they

used coffin dough a lot like we sometimes bake with aluminum foil today,

as a disposible dish or dish liner to aid cleanup.


FWIW, a hard coffin shell, infused with meat juices, egg, and fat would

be dandy dog fare, and I think a thrifty household would find a way use

them, without waste.





Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2008 11:43:41 +1200

From: Antonia Calvo <ladyadele at paradise.net.nz>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Fruit and Meat

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius wrote:

<<< Some of this may be true. Can anyone give me a "dessert" dish that  

*does* contain meat?


The only one I could think of is mincemeat pie, but I also believe  

mincemeat pie doesn't actually contain any meat. >>>


It used to; there are several extant 17th (and, I think, 16th)

century recipes calling for beef or veal, plus suet. The filling is  

essentially a sausage mixture with lots of fruit mixed in.



There are 15th/16th recipes calling for both meat and dried fruit as a

pie filling.  There are _still_ recipes out there for mincemeat made

with meat.  I think there's one in the Fanny Farmer cookbook.


Antonia di Benedetto Calvo



Date: Wed, 13 Aug 2008 20:49:21 -0400

From: Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Fruit and Meat

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


The traditional  recipe in my family contains real meat in the

mincemeat. One puts up the mincemeat, lets it age and then

one makes the traditional dark fruitcakes in part with the homemade mincemeat.

One then lets the cakes age for a suitable period of time, while soaking

them every once in awhile in brandy or whisky.


So that answers the question about there being a dessert dish that

contains meat!


As for Mince meat recipes and mentions- part of the problem lies on the

spelling of the terms. Mince or minst or minse, etc.


After some searching here are some mentions in chronological order from OED


*1573* C. HOLLYBAND /French Schoole-maister/ 94 O Lorde, he hath supped

up all the brothe of this mince pie.

*1578* Lyte /Dodoens/ i. ciii. 146 Chopte or minsed meate.

*1585* T. Washington tr. /Nicholay's Voy/ iii. xi. 90 b, Pies of minced

meate, and rice.

*1604* T. DEKKER /News from Graves-end/ Ep. Ded. sig B3, Ten thousand in

London swore to feast their neighbors with nothing but plum-porredge,

and mince-pyes all


*1626* Bacon /Sylva/ /enticons/sect.gif46 With a good strong

Chopping-knife, mince the two Capons..as small as ordinary Minced Meat.

*1630* /Tincker of Turvey/ 23 If his wife puts but two fingers daintily

into a dish of mince-meat, he sweares she makes hornes at him.

*1662* S. PEPYS  /Diary/ 6 Jan. (1970) III. 4 We have, besides a good

chine of beef and other good cheer, eighteen mince-pies in a dish, the

number of the years that he hath been married.

*1673* T. SHADWELL  /Epsom-Wells/ IV, in /Wks./ (1720) II. 247 For

currants to make mince-pyes with.


[OED doesn't list it but there's also this mention too.


Frilingotti,a kinde of daintie chewet or mincedpie.


John Florio A vvorlde of wordes, 1598]



Recipe wise


To bake a Connie, Veale, or Mutton.

TAke a Conny and perboile it almoste enough, then mince the flesh of it

verie fine, and take with it three yolkes of hard egges, and mince with

it, then lay another Conny in your Pie being perboiled, and your minced

meat with it, being seasoned with Cloues, Mace, Ginger, Saffron Pepper &

Salt, with two dishes of sw?ete butter mixed with it, lay vpon your

Con|nie Barberies Gooseberies, or grapes, or the smal raisons, and so

bake it.


Thomas Dawson The second part of the good hus-wiues iewell. 1597




A minc't pie.

Take a Legge of Mutton, and cut the best of the flesh from the bone, and

parboyle it well: then put to it three pound of the best Mutton suet,

and shred it very small: then spread it abroad, and season it with

Pepper and Salt, Cloues and Mace: then put in good store of Currants,

great Raisins and Prunes cleane washt and pickt, a few Dates slic't, and

some Orenge pills slic't: then being all well mixt together, put it into

a coffin, or into diuers coffins, and so bake them: and when they are

serued vp open the liddes, and strow store of Sugar on the top of the

meate, and vpon the lid. And in this sort you may also bake Beefe or

Veale; onely the Beefe would not bee parboyld, and the Veale will aske a

double quantity of Suet.


Markham, Gervase. The English house-vvife. 1631



There's a long association of the pies with Christmas. In his

'Ceremonies for Christmasse" the poet Robert Herrick wrote:


Drink now the strong Beere,

Cut the white loafe here,

The while the meat is a shredding;

For the rare Mince-Pie

And the Plums stand by

To fill the Paste that's a kneading.


This was published in 1648 in his collection titled Hesperides.


Last but not least Ivan Day has a selection of recipes for mince pies on

website under the heading Bake Metes and Mince Pies.

See http://www.historicfood.com/Pie%20recipe2.htm





On Aug 13, 2008, at 6:52 PM, Stefan li Rous wrote:

Some of this may be true. Can anyone give me a "dessert" dish that

*does* contain meat?

He answered-- The only one I could think of is mincemeat pie, but I also believe mincemeat pie doesn't actually contain any meat.


Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius wrote:

It used to; there are several extant 17th (and, I think, 16th) century

recipes calling for beef or veal, plus suet. The filling is

essentially a sausage mixture with lots of fruit mixed in.

Many modern recipes still call for the suet, though.

There's also suet in quite a few English steamed, boiled and baked

puddings that are sweet and eaten as desserts.




<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org