Oh, It’s PIPES?
Magritte – This is not a pipe – at least not the sort the song means
Imagine 10 more piping…
Why aren’t there more PIES in the Twelve Days of Christmas?????
Christmas is not just the retail season leading up to Xmas day…it’s also the twelve days following.Christmas Pies used to reign where there is now Christmas Pudding and Christmas Cookies…Christmas Pie also went by Shred Pie or Mincemeat Pie…..but now the meat is mostly missing, and sometimes they’re known as Mince Pie.
If you eat a mince pie on each of the 12 days of Christmas, you’ll have good luck in each of the 12 months ahead. It’s even better luck if you eat one mince pie in each of 12 different houses -at least that way you won’t wear out your welcome.
We did not have mince pie at Christmas this year. But the Christmas season isn’t over YET, so there’s time…..
Sometimes Mincemeat Pies were big, raised pies.
detail of a raised pie, Antonio de. Pereda, 1678
To make minced Pies or Chewits of a Leg of Veal, Neats-Tongue, Turkey, or Capon.
Take to a good leg of veal six pound of beef-suet, then take the leg of veal, bone it, parboil it, and mince it very fine when it is hot; mince the suet by it self very fine also, then when they are cold mingle them together, then season the meat with a pound of sliced dates, a pound of sugar, an ounce of nutmegs, an ounce of pepper, an ounce of cinamon, half an ounce of ginger, half a pint of verjuyce, a pint of rose-water, a preserved orange, or any peel fine minced, an ounce of caraway-comfits, and six pound of currans; put all these into a large tray with half a handful of salt, stir them up all together, and fill your pies, close them up, bake them, and being baked, ice them with double refined sugar, rose-water, and butter.
Make the paste with a peck of flour, and two pound of butter boil’d in fair water or liquor, make it up boiling hot.
Robert May. The Accomplist Cook. 1674
Somewhere along the way in the 18th century Brandy and Other Spirits found their way into mincemeat. Often, quite a bit of spirits, ostensibly for ‘preservation’. Truth be told, much of the newly Industrialized World was in quite a pickle through the mid-17oo’s and the 1800’s. Prohibition was not for naught, as it were.
To make mince-pies the best way.
Take three pounds of suet shred very fine, and chopped as small as possible; two pounds of raisins stoned, and chopped as fine as possible; two pounds of currants nicely picked, washed, rubbed, and dried at the fire; half a hundred of fine pipins, pared, cored and chopped small; half a pound of sugar pounded fine; a quarter an ounce, of mace, a quarter of an ounce of cloves, two large nutmegs, all beat fine; put all together into a great pan, and mix it well together with half a pint of brandy, and half a pint of sack ; put it down close in a stone pot, and it will keep good for four months.
1740. Hannah Glasse. The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy.
and one more historic recipe…
MINCEMEAT (Mrs. Brotherton’s Recipe).
INGREDIENTS – 6 lemons, ½ lb. of apples, 1 lb. of raisins, weighed after being stoned,1 lb. of currants, 1 lb. of sugar, ½ lb. of fresh butter, 4 ozs. each of candied orange and citron.
Mode. – Grate the yellow rind, cut the lemons in two, and squeeze out the juice. Boil the rinds in spring water till tender, but not soft, changing the water 4 or 5 times to take out the bitterness, and putting a large tablespoon of salt in the water in which they are boiled. When done, drain the water from them, and take out the seeds and the skins, then chop them with the raisins in a wooden bowl. When finely chopped, add the currants, sugar, the apples, previously prepared as for sauce, the grated rind of the lemons, the juice, ½ a tablespoonful of cayenne pepper, a small teaspoonful of mace, another of powdered cinnamon, 15 drops almond flavor, the candied orange and citron, cut in thin slices, and lastly the butter, melted, and poured in.
This mincemeat may have brandy or other spirits added to it the same as ordinary mincemeat, and it keeps fresh longer; but, as teetotalism and vegetarianism so often go hand in hand, we have not put it amongst the ingredients.*
The pastry recipe may be used for the mince pies or ordinary puff-paste.
Average cost, for this quantity, 3s.
Seasonable at Christmas.
-1903. Mrs. Beeton’s Cookery Book : A Household Guide. J.S. Doige, Blackpool (fasc. Rigby Pub. Ltd, 1981.) p. 185, section: Vegetarianism. * bold mine kmw
This is one of the Mrs Beeton’s that I own. I got this on my first trip to London in the early ’80’s on a shop on Charring Cross Road.
Modern day Mince Pie are often small pies
Tuesday January 5th is the 11th day of Christmas, so get mincing!