Posted in Kafevend Blog
I'm thinking we've heard enough about all the chocolate people get year on year for Christmas- what about mince pies? Like all the chocolate, I'm really quite partial to a mince pie or ten during the holidays. Even better is a mince pie with brandy butter. Something that has always struck me as odd however is the name; where's the mince? And wouldn't it taste really weird if it did have mince? Why call it that?
The first mince pies were made in Britain during the Crusades, as crusaders made their way back from the Holy Lands. With them they brought mysterious new foods and spices, and new ways of preparing them learned from the people they met. Certain Middle Eastern dishes combined items like meat, fruit and spices, and it was from this that the mince pie was formed. These early pies also contained suet (fat), and were considerably larger than today's, as well as being rectangular in shape.
The precursor to the mince pie was more well known as the Christmas pie and contained mutton, suet, pepper, salt, cloves, mace, currants, raisins, prunes, dates and orange peel- quite a combination. Samuel Pepys was a fan of the mince pie, particularly home made ones created by his wife.
The mince pie as we know it today was the result of a gradual change, as more and more people left out the meat part of the filling. The beginning of the Victorian age was the main turning point, with most seeing the meat as an afterthought. Mince pies were more popular than ever though, as people would make the mincemeat filling months before hand and store it in jars- rather jumping the gun there, though I suppose we don't do much better with Christmas products on the shelves by the end of October!
We wish you a very happy Christmas. Go easy on the mince pies and chocolate!