Today is National Mincemeat Pie Day
A mince pie is a small British sweet pie traditionally served during the Christmas season. The early mince pie was known by several names, including mutton pie, shrid pie, mincemeat pie, and Christmas pie.
Mince pie dates back to medieval times, when the recipe included venison, along with dried fruits, sugar and spices. It was then known as mincemeat pie. In the mid-nineteenth century, the meat began disappearing from the recipe, which evolved into the sweet and spicy mince pie we know today, served during the Christmas season, and filled with candied and fresh fruits, nuts, sugar, spices, wine and suet. Suet is raw beef fat or mutton fat, particularly the hard fat found around the loins and kidneys. A vegetarian suet is made from palm oil and rice flour.
Served during the Christmas season, the savory Christmas pie (as it became known) was associated with supposed Catholic “idolatry” and during the English Civil War was frowned on by the Puritan authorities. Nevertheless, the tradition of eating Christmas pies in December continued through to the Victorian era, although by then its recipe had become sweeter and its size reduced markedly from the large oblong shape once observed.
Today the mince pie remains a popular Christmas treat, although the recipe no longer has the same list of 13 ingredients once used (representative of Christ and his 12 Apostles according to author Margaret Baker), it lacks the religious meaning contained therein.