In the British tradition, mince pie is as customary at Christmas as egg nog. Colonists brought it to America, and the tradition continued.
Yet, have you ever had mince pie?
Mince pie dates back to medieval times, when it was a meat pie (as were most pies of the time) based on minced venison, and known as mincemeat pie. The recipe did include dried fruits, sugar and spices.
In the mid-nineteenth century, the meat began to disappear from the recipe, which retained the fruits and spices. Mincemeat pie evolved into the sweet and tangy mince pie we know today.
Recipes typically include candied and fresh fruits, nuts, sugar, spices, wine and suet. (Suet is raw beef fat or mutton fat, particularly the hard fat found around the loins and kidneys. A vegetarian suet is made from palm oil and rice flour.)
The Walkers Shortbread folks sell boxed Luxury Fruit Mince Tarts during the holiday season, which contain a very traditional fruity and tangy filling. Very yummy.
Instead of buying and slicing a whole pie, consider them in regular (about 3″ diameter, six tarts/box) or mini sizes.
Serve mince pie or tarts as a snack, at tea or as a traditional dessert during the season. The Walkers mincemeat contains apples, currants, sultanas and candied citrus peal. It’s sweet and lemony rather than heavily spicy, in a crisp crust.
Legend has it that mince pies were a favorite food of Father Christmas, so pie was left on a plate at the foot of the chimney as a thank-you for well-filled stockings. Perhaps you should hedge your bets by leaving a tart or two.
The tarts are available at retailers nationwide and can be found online.
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