23 December 2008

Chewets, Shred Pies or Ye Mynce Pyes

I did a bit of research, and there is quite a lot out there - whatever did we do without the Internet I wonder?

From Celtnet Recipes, which by far seemed to be the best source of information :

Original Lady Portland's Receipt for Mince Pies
Take four pounds of Beef, Veal or Neats-Tongues, and eight pounds of suet; and mince both the meat and Suet very small, before you put them together. Then mingle them well together and mince it very small, and put to it six pounds of Currants washed and picked very clean. Then take the Peel of two Lemons, and half a score of Pippins (apples), and mince them very small. Then take above and Ounce of Nutmeg, and a quarter of an ounce of Mace, some Cloves and Cinnamon, and put them together, and sweeten them with Rose-water and Sugar. And when you are ready to put them into your Paste, take Citron and Orangiadoe, and slice them very thin, and lay them upon the meat. If you please, put dates upon the top of them. And put amongst the meat an Ounce of Caraway seeds. Be sure you have very fine Paste.

Modern Version
The mince pye presented here is an evolution of the Medieval Christmas recipe which would have used beef and venison offal with maybe apples; making it essentially a meat-based dish. The version presented here now has more fruit than meat in it and is the precursor of the Elizabethan fruit and suet-based Mince Pie that is essential element of any British Christmas.

600g minced beef
400g minced beef suet
900g seedless currants
2 cooking apples or 3 pippins grated small
rind of one lemon, grated.
1 tsp freshly-grated nutmeg
¼ tsp ground mace
generus pinch of ground cloves
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
80g dates, quartered lengthways
1 lemon, sliced into rings (the original recipe uses citron, Citrus medica which is a very acidic relative of lemon
1 smal tart orange sliced into rings

This recipe calls for a fine pastry. Celtnet recommends using their recipe for Saffron Short Paest (short-crust pastry). Make enough of this to line the base of a 25cm diameter pie dish and to provide a lid for the pie. This seems to be a similar recipe for sugar pastry but includes saffron and not sugar.. might have to try a combination.

Heat some oil in a frying pan and fry the mince for a few minutes. Tip into a bowl and allow to cool. Once cold add the suet, currants, grated apples, grated lemon and spices. Mix together well and tip into your pie dish. Top with the dates and cover with the lemon and orange slices then add the pastry topping. Bind the bottom and top pieces of pastry together by pressing down with the tines of a fork then prick the surface of the top pastry a number of times to allow steam to escape.

Place in an oven pre-heated to 160oC and bake for about 40 minutes or until the pastry is a light golden browin in colour. Serve warm. Less if you are making individual pies.

According to Celtnet Elizabethan Recipes where I obtained this information, while the beef version recipe is good, if you can hold of minced venison it is even bette.


Nicey said...

They are no ordniary mince pies they are Sages mince pies !!!

Rae!xx said...

Forgive my naievty but I didn't even realise there was mince meat in mince meat if you know what I mean.

I know Mum and Gran only ever made it from Robinson's jars..because it was the only one that didn't run out of the pastry..xx

Rae!xx said...

Oops Robertsons....