Monday, December 16, 2013

Mince Pie alert!

"Very fashionable mince pies are made at Strasbourg, in France, from the diseased livers of geese, or other animals. These pies are now brought, in some instances, to this country, especially to Philadelphia, and our other large cities." with Robert May receipts, 1685..

The quote is from 1838 [Alcott, William Andrus.  The Young House-keeper, or, Thoughts on Food and Cookery. Boston: 1838] and the images of mince pies are from 1685.  [May, Robert. The Accomplisht Cook. London: 1685] Robert May had a large number of minced pies in his book for various fish (Salmon recipe, below), meat – including venison (deer) – and fowl.  A few of his recipes, French (called English petits) and Italian are below.  In an ironic coincidence, centuries later, another Robert May created Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, which was made into the song by his brother-in-law.  Heard it lately?

To make minced Pies or Chewits of a Leg of Veal, Neats-Tongue, Turkey, or Capon.
Take to a good leg of veal six pound of beef-suet, then take the leg of veal, bone it, parboil it, and mince it very fine when it is hot; mince the suet by it self very fine also, then when they are cold mingle them together, then season the meat with a pound of sliced dates, a pound of sugar, an ounce of nutmegs, an ounce of pepper, an ounce of cinamon, half an ounce of ginger, half a pint of verjuyce, a pint of rose-water, a preserved orange, or any peel fine minced, an ounce of caraway-comfits, and six pound of currans [currants]; put all these into a large tray with half a handful of salt, stir them up all together, and fill your pies, close them up, bake them, and being baked,

[icing] ice them with double refined sugar, rose-water, and butter.

Make the paste [crust] with a peck of flour, and two pound of butter boil’d in fair water or liquor, make it up boiling hot.

To make minced Pies of Salmon.

Mince a rand [slice] of fresh salmon very small, with a good fresh water eel being flayed [skinned] and boned; then mince, some violet leaves, sorrel, strawberry-leaves, parsley, sage, savory, marjoram, and time, mingle all together with the meat, currans [currants], cinamon, nutmeg, pepper, salt, sugar, caraways; rose-water, white-wine, and some minced orangado [candied orange peel], put some butter in the bottom of the pies, fill them, and being baked ice them, and scrape on sugar; Make them according to these forms.

To make minced Pies of Beef.
Take a stone or eight pound of beef, also eight pound of suet, mince them very small, and put to them eight ounces of salt, two ounces of nutmegs, an ounce of pepper, an ounce of cloves and mace, four pound of currans [currants], and four pound of raisins, stir up all these together, and fill your pies.

Minced in the French fashion, called Pelipate, or in English Petits, made of Veal, Pork, or Lamb, or any kind of Venison, Beef, Poultrey, or Fowl.
Mince them with lard, and being minced, season them with salt, and a little nutmeg, mix the meat with some pine-apple-seed [pine nuts], and a few grapes or gooseberries; fill the pies and bake them, being baked liquor them with a little gravy.

Sometimes for variety in the Winter time, you may use currans [currants], instead of grapes or gooseberries, and yolks of hard eggs minced among the meat.

Minced Pies in the Italian Fashion.
Parboil a leg of veal, and being cold mince it with beef-suet, and season it with pepper, salt, and gooseberries; mix with it a little verjuyce, currans [currants], sugar, and a little saffron in powder.

Sometimes for variety in the Winter time, you may use currans [currants], instead of grapes or gooseberries, and yolks of hard eggs minced among the meat.

©2013 Patricia Bixler Reber

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