Friday, 2 December 2016

Christmas Countdown Day Two

Hello Friends!

Thank you for joining me again today. Here is this morning's window opened ~~~



Today's Christmas Trivia Tradition is why are Mince Pies called Mince Pies when they are a fruity and sugary sweet treat?

Mince Pies trace their origins to the thirteenth century when they were traditionally made with meat, often mutton, and suet.  The Crusaders returning from the Middle East brought back such strange and unknown ingredients as cinnamon, cloves and mace, along with dates and other delicious fruits, and a variety of nuts which ultimately made their way into many British recipes.  Their pungency was regularly used to disguise the taste of meat which was often becoming rancid. The pies have celebrated a varied history over the years but in essence remained the same until Victorian times when the sweet sort we enjoy today evolved.

Not everyone leaves the meat out, I know of several cooks who have old family recipes which do include meat, and while suet is still included in the sweet pies, these days it is often vegetable suet rather than grated animal fat.

Traditionally, Mince Pies consist of two layers of sealed pastry which contain a filling of mincemeat {dried fruits macerated in alchohol, grated fresh apple, brown sugar, nuts, spices, and suet}. Mincemeat should be made well in advance to allow the flavours to mature. Today, however, there are so many variations on the theme that the pies are taking on a whole new and very flavoursome twist. I've made them with flaky pastry, and sometimes I've used marzipan for the top instead of pastry. I've made them as a traybake to be served in slices, and added all sorts of different dried fruits such as cranberries, blueberries, and apricots. The taste can be further changed by using different spirits ~ brandy, whisky, sherry etc, or even non~alcoholic by using apple juice. I use my homemade mincemeat mixture for so many other things too, such as Christmas ice cream, Mincemeat Cake, and Mincemeat Cookies.

It is a singularly British problem that from now until January you will find Mince Pies served with every cup of tea you are offered, or, in some instances, sherry and a mince pie ~ of which I am particularly fond! Have you ever lived dangerously and eaten a Mince Pie with a small piece of extra mature Cheddar cheese and a glass of port?

Just remember, for some of us a Mince Pie is Not Just for Christmas!

Do stop by tomorrow!

Until tomorrow's Christmas Countdown~~~
~~~Deborah xoxo

7 comments:

  1. I absolutely love mince pies, before long I bet you will be able to buy them all year round, I bought hot cross buns from Asda last week.x

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    1. Me too, I love mince pies! I wonder if we'll have Creme Eggs soon? Can't be long now. xo

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  2. Deb, mince pies were a tradition in my family and were made by my Nanny. I must say she made the sweet version, but I have had the meat version. Not knowing what the meat was I remember it being a little odd. Anything accompanied by a good sharp cheddar is good in my book. Even though I do love baking, I have never made a mince pie. xoxo ♥

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    1. I can't imagine the meat version as I am vegetarian, and for years I had to do without them completely because of the use of animal suet, but now, thankfully, there is vegetarian suet and most shop bought mincemeat and mince pies are suitable for vegetarians too.
      ~~~Deb xoxo

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  3. I didn't know that, about serving mince pies with tea everywhere! How absolutely wonderful! The best part about doing that in England/Wales is you can walk it off in your wonderful countryside, as most of you do! I am so glad that that mince "meat" has evolved to leave out the meat!! We grew up eating mince pie -- the larger New England version, as you say, not just at Christmas. It was much loved in our home. Now I make the mini pies and we eat them for a few days before Christmas. Jane xoxo

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    1. My Nanna made a Minced Beef Pie, which was delicious in it's own right, but like you I am happy the real meat has evolved out of the Mince Pie. I make my pies in Fairy Cake pans, they are about four bites, and I also make the mini ones that are one bite.
      ~~~Deb xoxo

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  4. I looked at this yesterday, and why I didn't comment then...I don't know? lol

    But I figured I should comment today. I am loving this trivia. It makes an extra nice little tidbit to look forward to. And I am always for learning something new. I have never had mincemeat pie. I think I should give it a try.

    Love and hugs, Darlene

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Thank you for stopping by today ~ I love reading your comments