19th Century mince pie recipe

Bake the perfect mince pie with this old-time Christmas recipe

‘Shred pies’, or mince pies as they are more commonly known, are a popular festive treat at Christmas time, having been consumed for centuries during the winter months.

But mince pies were once a very different dish from the one we know today, with the main ingredients being meat and suet, mixed with a variety of spices.  

The University’s Special Collections archive houses historical recipes for mince pies, including one tasty example from the early 19th Century.

Usually referred to as Rebecca Dixon’s recipe book because of an inscription dated 1804, the manuscript contains recipes for such delights as potted beef, roast hare, pickled herring, and a variety of cakes and puddings, as well as the below recipe for the perfect mince pie.

A recipe for the perfect mince pie:
1 lb meat
1 lb suet
½ lb currants
½ lb raisins
1 lb sugar
¼ oz mace
¼ oz nutmeg
¼ oz cinnamon
3 or 4 apples, finely chopped
Orange, lemon and citron peel

While the University of Leicester News Centre has not personally baked a mince pie to these specifications, the ingredients suggest a promising result.

This perhaps explains why mince pies are still to this day left out for Santa Claus, along with a carrot for his reindeer, on Christmas Eve.