The origins of the mince pie are traceable back to the 13th century, when returning European crusaders brought with them Middle Eastern recipes containing meats, fruits and spices.
The early mince pie was often known as the mutton pie, shrid pie and even a Christmas pie. Its ingredients were generally a mixture of minced meat, suet, fruits and spices such as cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Our modern mince pie has not only shrunk in terms of ingredients, but also in size. The original mince pie was usually rectangular and much larger than today’s small round affairs.
If you want to create a more traditional mince pie this December then why not give this historically inspired recipe a go?
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour and 45 minutes
650g minced mutton
100g beef suet
0.5tsp ground cloves
1tsp ground mace
0.5tsp ground black pepper
0.5 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
Pinch of saffron
50g stoned prunes-chopped
50g dried chopped dates
50 ml dark rum
450g plain flour
1tbsp each of butter, sugar and rosewater, melted together.
Pre-heat the oven to 220C/425F/G7.
Mix the minced mutton with all the other filling ingredients. This is a job to get clean hands in as you want to ensure that everything is well combined
To make the pastry, In a large saucepan, melt the lard in the water and milk and bring to the boil.
Take off the heat and add the flour and salt and beat to a soft dough. Knead on a floured surface until smooth.
Set aside a quarter of the pastry, wrap this portion in foil to keep it warm.
Mould the large piece of pastry into a 20cm spring form tin to make the base and sides. (can also be made in loaf tins)
Fill the tin with the filling; packing it down well,
Roll out the remaining pastry for the lid, moisten the sides with water and press the lid firmly in place and crimp to make a tight seal.
Trim the edges and use the surplus to decorate the top. Cut a hole in the middle of the lid.
Bake in the centre of the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes, and then reduce the temperature to 180C/350F/G4 for a further 75 minutes.
Remove the sides of the tin, brush the whole pie with the glaze and return to the oven for a further 15 minutes.