Vintage Recipe: Mincemeat Pie

November 24, 2015


Mincemeat pie seems to have fallen out of favor, but in 1978 it was still very much on people’s minds (and tables).  Here, from the December issue of Gourmet, was the editors’ suggestion for the perfect holiday pie.

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The suggested accompaniment?  Ginger ice cream.  Even though it uses preserved ginger (fresh ginger was not a supermarket staple in the seventies) it still seems rather food-forward for the time.

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And here, just because it’s almost impossible to imagine a modern epicurean magazine putting this on the newsstand, is the cover of the issue. (The image, incidentally, is from the Rottenbuch parish church in Germany.)


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  • J West says:

    This is great fun to read, but technically this is Mince Pie, not Mincemeat, since there is no meat in it. I have made mincemeat for many years, using the wonderful recipe in the Horizon History of Food cookbook as a basis. My aunt and cousins made mincemeat using venison, but I use whatever trimmings from elk I can beg from someone’s successful hunt. And yes, a lard crust for sure, and hard sauce. It’s a seriously heavy pie and no one is neutral about it.

  • Jane Gagle-Bennett says:

    My grandmother made and canned her own made with meat mincemeat. There’s a pie-making company in Winchester, Indiana that sells mincemeat pies in November and December, so an older cousin and I meet at the company’s restaurant around this time each year so we can visit and eat the mincemeat pie that reminds us of Lola. Of course, her pies had lard crusts, and she had no written down recipes. She made a sugar cream pie by dumping ingredients in a pie shell and muddling them together with her fingers. She also made gooseberry pies, so when it’s not mincemeat season, gooseberry is our choice of pie.

  • Debbie Quinn says:

    LOVE mincemeat pies. Thank you for the recipe. My grandmother made them every holiday and now my daughter brings me the mini mince pies from England where they are still very popular.

  • Linda Bissinger says:

    There was always mince pie at Christmas when I was growing up in Southern Ontario, Canada. And fruit cakemade from my grandmother’s recipe. But never plum pudding. My father’s heritage was English, even though the family had emigrated in 1866; his favourite recipes were probably from my grandmother, who was a wonderful cook apparently. The mincemeat was always Maple Leaf brand, and I don’t remember whether there was meat in it at that time, but there was suet.
    My mother was from Newfoundland, but I don’t remember any typical dishes from there, maybe because some of the ingredients were not available in small-town Ontario in the 1950s.
    I wish that I had not got rid of 25 years of Gourmet magazines about 10 years ago, no doubt under pressure from my darling daughter (who died last year). Clearing out old magazines and other items was the only source of dissension between us.

  • John says:

    I agree with J. West. NO WAY is this “mincemeat.” The mincemeat I make (almost annually) calls for both beef and pork (and their reduced boiling liquors), with dried raisins, dried currants, dried cherries, chopped apples, spices and—curiously enough—honey. It’s a family recipe that dates back at least to the mid-19th century, and it’s just plumb delicious. But it’s also not for dieters. It’s at its very best served warm with a traditional English hard sauce, either with booze or without. I also sure wish I had my mother’s knack for pie crust, but can’t capture it, regardless of how I try. Part of her secret, of course, was real lard.

    • Susan says:

      Hi, i agree, i was so hoping to finally figure out the meaning behind the name…but it no meat, kinda a bummer. Im trying to get back into baking, never had time once I left the nest…but now I have lots of time, I live in Texas(for now) and there is no mincemeat pie. And no recipes. Can i perhaps try yours? I am bored to tears and wanting to try ‘old’ new things…thank you

    • Susan says:

      Look at the post a little further down, it describes how their grandfather made pie, if im not mistaken, my great great aunt would do the same for her rhubarb pie…nom nom nom

  • C Olsen says:

    gotta agree with J West. That is a recipe for minced pic. I grew up with all the women in the family making venison mincemeat pie. They would can it by the quart, so it was not necessarily a seasonal pie; but always on the table for the holidays.

  • Terri says:

    This sounds like a great recipe. A crust is not so difficult to do, it just takes practice. My grandfather put everything, including the flour in the freezer. While they were getting cold he assembled all of the utensil’s – pie pan, bowl and forks.

    When he took all of ingredients out of the freezer (not long enough to actually freeze anything) he quickly put them into a bowl. Using the forks, he cut the lard into the flour until it was grainy. It has to be grainy or pebbly. Then he transferred the flour and lard to the pie pan and lightly pressed down on the flour. If you press too hard, or use a rolling pin, there is not enough of the lard to create the pockets that make a pie crust flaky. Some people bake a crust before using. It’s not necessary unless what you are putting in the crust is extremely liquid.

  • Howard Hull says:

    My wife and I make mincemeat based on and old settlers recipe. If made 100% by the recipe we would use the meat from a boiled hogs head, as we do not butcher our own hogs anymore we use pork butt meat instead. And it turns out GREAT. Anyone interested in the recipe please email.

  • Susan says:

    Mr Hull, i would love the recipe. This is a pie i have not tried before. Nor tasted.
    The others above also sound wonderful.
    Thank you

  • I would love to make a flakey pie crust since I’m not good at it. The pies on this site look scrumptious When it mentions lard what’s that and where do I buy it. I would appreciate a recipe for pie crust.

  • alice rice says:

    my mother and grandmother’s……made the best mincement pie with venison…..but over the years that recipie has been lost……how I would like a pie can anyone share the formula for the pie??????????? thanks you so much……I’m 82 now…….alice

  • DeAnn Caddy says:

    My grandmother made the best mincemeat pie with venison also. I was not able to get her recipe and none of my family has been able to help me. Does anyone have a good one they are share if me. I miss my grandmother mincemeat pies!

  • Sally says:

    As a fundamental staple of British Christmas food is mince pies, ready made mincemeat filling is sold universally in jars, as are the ready-made pies. The meat content is generally replaced with beef suet, or a vegetable suet alternative, which are both easily available year round in British supermarkets as they are also used in many traditional steamed puddings such as spotted dick or jam roly poly. They are both amazing “stick-to-your-ribs” desserts best enjoyed on a cold winter’s day followed by an afternoon nap!

  • Colleen says:

    My Grandmother made Mincemeat pie with lard crust and suet, the best pie ever.

  • Rhonda says:

    My mother had a great recipe for mincemeat so when my she passed away I thought I would never have her mincemeat again because I did not know how to make it. My brother however paid attention and he showed me how to make it. We tweaked it a little bit by adding butter instead of suet and adjusting the spices a little. We use the neck of either moose or deer. We have been told it is the best by old timers and those who like mincemeat. I am asked to make a pie often. It is my favorite pie I like it cold in the morning with a hot cup of coffee. Thank you Michael for paying attention!