“I have made a sumptuous meal on your minced pies – which are worthy of the donor and of his table. I congratulate you on your Cook…”Lord Byron
Now for those of you who know me even moderately well; you will recall that I am rather partial to a mince pie at this time of year and if I were to ever venture into a life-size kitchen and rummage among the pots and pans in order to whittle up my own batch of these delightful pastry treats – I certainly wouldn’t be holding my breath in anticipation of any congratulatory message!
And with a well-eared copy of Margaretta Acworth’s ‘book of receipts’ to hand; I will share the ‘fruits of my labour’ with you and her recipe for ‘Mince Pyes’ that her ‘Dear Mamma Always Made & Was Generally Admired’:
Ingredients for Margaretta Acworth’s ‘Mince Pyes’:
8 small eggs, weighing 1 lb 2 oz (500 g) uncooked
5 oz (140 g, 2½ cups) each of fresh breadcrumbs and shredded suet (kidney fat)
1 large cooking apple, weighing 10 oz (280 g) unpeeled
12 oz (340 g, 3 cups) currants
8 oz (225 g, 2 cups) raisins
10 oz (280 g, 1¾ cups) dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon each of ground nutmeg and mace
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 oz (60 g, ½ cup) chop mixed candied peel.
Boil the eggs hard, cool them and shred them using a food processor or cheese grater.
Mix them with the breadcrumbs and suet.
Peel, quarter and core the apple and shred it too.
Mix in the breadcrumbs and suet, then add all the remaining ingredients.
Stir well and put into sterilized jars. Seal well and keep in a cool, dark cupboard.
Mrs Acworth would normally use Puff Pastry to make tarts and for puddings requiring pastry including cheesecakes and mince pies.
I shall bid you a fond ‘Adieu’ as I return to the ‘roleing’ of this ‘Puff Past’ and will allow Lord B a final word about the humble mince pie for this most festive of days.
“I wish you much merriment and minced pye – it is Xmas day…”
Now, I don’t mind if I do!
Margaretta Acworth’s Georgian Cookery Book Ed: Alice and Frank Prochaska (London: Pavilion Books Limited 1987)