Each year a few of us in the office try to find the best mince pie to be bought in Nuneaton. This year is no exception. Mince pies have a long history and once would have included meat as well as the dried fruit we are familiar with today. Their ingredients meant for many years they would have only been eaten by the rich.
I thought it would be fun to share a recipe from our Cookbook from 1782 which includes the use of meat in the mince pie. The recipe mentions the use of a “neat’s tongue” and I would be interested to know whether any of our readers know what this would have been?
A Mince Pye
Boil a neat’s tongue two hours, then skin it, and chop it as small as possible, chop very small three pounds of fresh beef suet, three pounds of good baking apples, four pounds of currants clean washed, picked, and well dried before the fire, one pound of raisins stoned and chopped small, and one pound of powder sugar, mix them all together with half an ounce of mace, the same of nutmeg grated, cloves and cinnamon a quarter of an ounce of each, and one pint of French brandy, and make a rich puff paste (pastry) ; as you fill the pye up, put in a little candied citron and orange cut in little pieces, what you have to spare, put close down in a pot and cover it up, put no citron or orange in till you use it.
The book doesn’t include the recipe for rich puff paste so instead I am including one which the writer Elizabeth Raffald advises for dish pies.
To make a cold Paste For Dish Pies.
Take a pound of fine flour, rub it into half a pound of butter, beat the yolks of two eggs, put them into as much water as will make it a stiff paste, roll it out, then put your butter on in thin pieces, dust it with flour, roll it up tight, when you have done it so for three times, roll it out pretty thin, and bake it in a quick oven.