6 Annotations

First Reading

Paul Timbrell  •  Link

Mince pies (or shred pies as they were also known, because the meat was shredded with a knife) were not just eaten at Christmas.They were a savoury-sweet mixture of meat, fruit and sugar, and one might be as much as 20lbs in weight; not so surprising when a recipe could include a whole leg of lamb, as well as suet, currants and prunes. Only a bread oven would be big enough, in those days, to accommodate such a pie. Over the years the content changed to leave us with our meatless mincemeat (How did the E.C. miss that one?).

CGS  •  Link

minced pie
mince pie, n.
[DRAFT REVISION Sept. 2009 Go to earlier version of entry ]
1. a. A savoury pie containing minced meat, esp. beef; a meat pie. Now chiefly Sc. and N.Z.
1573 C . HOLLYBAND French Schoole-maister 94 O Lorde, he hath supped up all the brothe of this mince pie. 1768 T. HULL Royal Merchant III. ii. 48 Hig. Oh the pies! the piping hot mince pies! Prig. The fine fat poultry!

b. A pie or tart containing mincemeat (see MINCEMEAT n. 1b), usually one eaten during the Christmas season and also (in N. Amer.) at Thanksgiving.
In Britain, the pies are now usually small, round covered tarts; elsewhere they are often traditionally larger.
1604 T. DEKKER News from Graves-end Ep. Ded. sig. B3, Ten thousand in London swore to feast their neighbors with nothing but plum-porredge, and mince-pyes all Christmas.

1662 S. PEPYS Diary 6 Jan. (1970) III. 4 We have, besides a good chine of beef and other good cheer, eighteen mince-pies in a dish, the number of the years that he hath been married.

1673 T. SHADWELL Epsom-Wells IV, in Wks. (1720) II. 247 For currants to make mince-pyes with.

1600 S. ROWLANDS Letting of Humors Blood Epigram viii. sig. A7v, He liues not like Diogines on Rootes: But proues a Mince-pie guest vnto his Host.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Recipe for six mince pies of 'an indifferent bigness'

Description: This recipe for “Six Minst Pyes" is bound amongst the Conway Papers, part of the State Papers of Charles I, created by Edward Conway, Charles’ Secretary of State.
National Archives Catalogue Reference: SP 14/189 f7

For six Minst Pyes of an Indifferent bignesse.
Take halfe a peck of the finest Flower, 2 li[bra]s of Suger, 2 li[bra]s of Butter, a Loyne of fatt Mutton, w[i]th a little of a Legg of Veale to mince w[i]th it, 2 li[bra]s of Reasons of the Sunn, as many Currons , of Cloves, Mace, and Nuttmeggs one ownce.
For the Paist mingle 1 pound and a halfe of Suger w[i]th the Flower and breake in the Yolkes of six Eggs, then worke it together w[i]th 3 parts of the two pounde of Butt[e]r. Set of a little water, and let it Seethe, then scym it and put in the 4th Parte of the Butt[e]r, and when it is melted, Scym it cleane from the Water, and work it w[i]th the Paist.
For the Meate. Let it be seasoned w[i]th Pepper, and mingled with halfe a pound of Suger, the other Frute and Spyce, the Raisons must be stoned, & some of them minced amongst the meate, the others put in hole, put in the Joyce of two Orringes and one Leamond, and the Ryne of them smale minced.
When the Pyes are filled slice Dates and stick in the top, and when you sett them into the oven Wassh them over w[i]th the yolkes of Eggs, and pynn them upp in Papers.


Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

To make a Mince Pie. Boil a neat's tongue two hours, then skin it, and chop it as small as possible. Chop also very small three pounds of beef suet, three pounds of good baking apples, four pounds of currants, clean washed, picked, and well dried before the fire, a pound of jar-raisins stoned and chopped small, and a pound of powder sugar. Mix them all together with half a pound of mace, as much nutmeg, a quarter of an ounce of cloves, the same quantity of cinnamon, and a pint of French brandy. Make a rich puff-paste, and as you fill up the pie, put in a little candied citron and orange cut into small pieces.
---The Accomplished Housekeeper, and Universal Cook. T. Williams, 1717.

eileen d.  •  Link

during the interregnum, it seems mince pies were political...

"...During the English Civil War, along with the censure of other Catholic customs, they were banned: "Nay, the poor rosemary and bays, and Christmas pie, is made an abomination."[11] Puritans were opposed to the Christmas pie, on account of its connection with Catholicism.[1] In his History of the Rebellion, Marchamont Needham wrote "All Plums the Prophets Sons defy, And Spice-broths are too hot; Treason's in a December-Pye, And Death within the Pot."[12]..."

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.


  • Oct