It just wouldn’t be Christmas without Mince Pies! Heralding from the time of the Crusades these seasonal treats were first introduced by troops returning in the 13th Century. Originally containing meat, suet, fruit and spices they were a welcome break from Turnip soup and a sign of wealth. Over the years the contents have changed and the use of meat was phased out in the early eighteenth century with the arrival of sugar from the West Indies.

Read a more in depth history here

Though the puritanical and all round party pooper Oliver Cromwell tried to ban the mince pie after the Civil War in an effort to clean up the immorality of the literal Christmas Spirit and consequent lewd behaviour, our love affair with this pie has won through seeing the UK eat some 370 million a year or 27 each!

For the more adventurous amongst you (tongue at the ready!) see this video from English Heritage

Here is a recipe for Mincemeat; hold the tongue!

250g each of currants, raisins and sultanas

250g Bramley apple peeled and finely chopped

250g Beef Suet or Vegetarian Suet

175g Demerara sugar

50g Dark Muscovado sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons of ground mixed spice

Juice and grated rind of 1 lemon

175g Mixed peel

125mls Dark Rum

100mls Brandy

Method – Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl and leave for at least 24 hours, stirring occasionally. When all the liquid has been absorbed spoon into sterilised Kilner Jars and use as required. Will keep for a year. This year I am using left over mincemeat from 2017 and the taste has intensified amazingly, so this years batch will be kept for next Christmas and so on…