Did Charlotte dine with you?
No, she would go home. I fancy she was wanted about the mince pies.
-Pride and Prejudice
Although Mrs. Bennet makes a sly jab at Charlotte Lucas for being home advising the staff on how to prepare the mince pies, it is clear that she is a much better manager and housekeeper than either Mrs. Bennet or her daughters are likely to be.
Mince pies are often associated with Christmas, and for good reason. They are the Christmas pies referred to in Medieval times, though these were generally rectangular, to represent the Christ child’s cradle. The dried fruits and spices symbolized the three gifts of the Magi. Many mince pies contained chopped meat as well as spices. The brandy used in the filling acted as a preservative, allowing large quantities to be made up at one time and stored until use. I’ve pared down this recipe to make enough filling for one large pie. If you choose to replace the brandy with juice, use the filling immediately; it won’t store well.
To Make A Mince Pie Without Meat
Chop fine three pounds of suet, and three pounds of apples, when pared and cored, wash and dry three pounds of currants, stone and chop one pound of jar raisins,
beat and sift one pound and a half of loaf sugar, cut small twelve ounces of candied orange peel, and six ounces of citron, mix all well together with a quarter of an ounce of nutmeg, half a quarter of an ounce of cinnamon, six or eight cloves, and half a pint of French Brandy, pot it close up and keep it for use.
• Pastry for 23 cm / 9 in double crust pie
• 2 large Apples, chopped fine
• 225 g / 8 oz / ½ lb of Beef Suet, minced
• 90 g / 3 oz / ½ cup Raisins
• 120 g / 4 oz / ½ cup Sugar
• 60 g / 2 oz / ¼ cup Candied Orange Peel
• 2 tbsp Citron, cut fine
• 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
• 1/8 tsp Cinnamon
• 6-8 Cloves
• 75 ml / 3 fl oz / 1/3 cup Brandy or 1 oz
Brandy Extract and ¼ Cup Apple Juice
Preheat your oven to 220° C / 425° F.
Mix together the suet, apple, raisins and sugar. Add the remaining spices, fruit and
brandy or juice.
Line a deep dish pie plate with pastry, and add the mince filling.
Roll out the remaining crust and cut a pattern in the top to vent the pie. Place the top crust
on the pie and crimp the edges together.
Bake for 35-40 minutes./wp-admin/post.php?post=694&action=edit
Excerpted from Cooking with Jane Austen and Friends, by Laura Boyle. Available in our giftshop!
Laura Boyle is fascinated by all aspects of Jane Austen’s life. She is the proprietor of Austenation: Regency Accessories, creating custom hats, bonnets, reticules and more for customers around the globe. Cooking with Jane Austen and Friends is her first book. Her greatest joy is the time she is able to spend in her home with her family.
Enjoyed this article? Browse our giftshop at janeaustengiftshop.co.uk for Regency recipe books!