Holiday Baking: Mincemeat Pies Article -
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Mincemeat Pies

This Christmas, make the triple-spiced mince pies that honor the gifts of the Magi--and be part of a thousand-year-old tradition.

Like plum pudding, mince pies are a traditional Christmas treat throughout the United Kingdom. Making mincemeat was a way of preserving meat using sugar and alcohol rather than smoke or salt. Historically, mince meat pies were made primarily with mutton. Today's pies are generally chopped meat with dried and fresh fruits, nuts, spices, and brandy.

Make your mincemeat filling when you make your fruitcakes: the longer the mixture sits, the better. If you are making traditional mincemeat, store the meat mixture in the refrigerator. Stir and refresh with brandy to cover every week. For fruit-based mincemeat, the mixture can remain at room temperature; stir occasionally and add more brandy, if necessary.

See our complete collection of mincemeat pies.

Mincemeat Traditions

  • Decorate the top of the pie with a star to represent the Star of Bethlehem
  • Stir the mincemeat mixture in a clockwise direction--counterclockwise brings bad luck in the coming year
  • Make a wish on the first mince pie of the season
  • The pies were originally cradle-shaped for the Christ child
  • If you bake small pies, it's considered lucky to eat one mince pie on each of the twelve days of Christmas

Christmas Quick Links

Aug. 30, 2009 12:34 pm
I am from the U.K. & yes we do have mince pies at Christmas but they are fruit filled pies...they do not have meat in them. They are for dessert.
Sep. 27, 2009 7:56 pm
I'm from Canada and mincemeat pies are part of Christmas dinner. No meat...just fruit....soooooo good when served warm.
Oct. 24, 2009 8:35 am
Thank you cause I never new this about mincemeat, I've always love mincemeat since I was a child. Carol
Dec. 10, 2009 4:21 pm
there was a store in town that used to sell warm mince pie with a butterscotch sauce at Christmas. totally decadent!
Dec. 20, 2009 6:32 pm
trying to figure out how to "doctor-up" none-such mincemeat. Husband is a Brit and thinks of mincemeat as Tarts...he says the crust is different than regular pie crust....can anyone help?
Mar. 10, 2010 6:18 am
Remember my grandfather making mincemeat and it was so good. Still use the same recipe and have taught my daughters how to do it. Usually make about 24 quarts that will last for a long time. Store bought is nothing compared to homemade.
Oct. 14, 2010 7:38 pm
I make the litle mini cheesecakes and top them with mincemeat. A Christmas tradition with me.
Nov. 6, 2010 6:15 am
I am originally from browning MO a very small town.I am looking for a mincemeat pie recipe like my grand ma moores I can remember parts of it. like apples raisins vinegar sugar pork but no measurements she user to boil the meat off the hoghead, I dont want to go that far. have tasted with venison, lean pork tasted fine it had NO ALCOHOL !!!!!! help please
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