The hand-written recipe book owned by Louisa Macculloch (1785-1863) contains two recipes for mince pies. The recipes are written in two different handwritings, with one recipe recognizing Mrs. Stuart as the source. George Macculloch mentions mince pies at Macculloch Hall in a letter written in 1827.
The letter dated, 29 January 1827, George Macculloch (1775-1858) wrote to his son, Francis (1801-1859), and shares news of Morristown residents, reports on the cold and snowy weather of January 1827, a possible revival of the Agricultural Society, but he also includes two or three sentences about the unfortunate burning of the mince pies, “and thus blasted the hopes of a good Sunday’s dinner… and the turkey which ought to have been killed 2 days ago, only quitted its transitory existence this morning, thus constraining us to fill the deep vacuum with vulgar beef and cabbage”. George Macculloch concludes this letter to Francis by writing, “upon this trying conjuncture I shall exhibit the active fortitude with which misfortune should be encountered, and lay down the pen to grasp the knife and fork”. From these sources, we learn that mince pies were a meal that was looked forward to being eaten and were not only enjoyed at Christmas time.
Original Recipe—Mrs. Stuart’s Mince Pies
2 lbs. meat
2 lbs. suet
2 lbs. currants
2 lbs. raisins
Juice of 2 lemons with the chopped skin of one.
1 pint of wine
1 pint of cider
2 lbs. sugar
4 lbs. apples
2 large nutmegs
2 tablespoonfuls cinnamon
1 of cloves
2 large tablespoonsfull of brandy to each pie, added just before baking.
Adapted Recipe—Mrs. Stuart’s Mince Pies
**Mincemeat should be prepared at least three days in advance and stored in the refrigerator until used. Mince pies can be made with either homemade or store-bought pie crust.
1 pound of beef (rump roast) finely chopped
7 ounces of shredded suet or Crisco (frozen)
1 ¼ cup currants
1 ¼ cup raisins
1 lemon (juice with lemon rind)
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups diced apples
1 nutmeg (freshly grated)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
½ tablespoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon of brandy
To make the mincemeat:
If using Crisco, put one stick of Crisco in freezer two hours before starting the recipe. In a medium-sized pot combine all the ingredients except brandy. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to low and simmer uncovered for two hours. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Add 1 tablespoon of brandy. If you need to add additional liquid near the end of the cooking process, you can also add a little apple juice.
Spoon the hot mincemeat into sterilized quart jars. Let the jars cool before placing in refrigerator. Mincemeat can be stored in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 weeks prior to using or it can be used immediately.
To make the mince pies:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease the muffin pan or tart pan. Cut circles out of dough and place into greased tins. Scoop mincemeat into each small pie tin. Do not overfill. Cover with another round dough circle. Use egg wash to seal individual pies. Poke slits in top of pies for ventilation. Alternatively, use a star-shape or lattice strips to cover pies, which will allow for ventilation. Bake pies for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool in pan on rack. Store mince pies in refrigerator and warm before eating.
Topic: Munchie Monday
Age / Level: College, Life Long Learner