Mince pie recipes of the olden days for Thanksgiving (from 1935)
The Decatur Daily Review (Decatur, Illinois) November 25, 1935
Now is a good time to be making the mincemeat for the Thanksgiving mince pie which, with the pumpkin pie, vies in popularity for the dessert for the feast on that day. The quantity of mincemeat that is made may be sufficient to last for a long time and be used as needed or wanted, or only enough for the Thanksgiving pies can be made.
It saves time and work if enough is made at one time to suffice for various times. Keep the mixture in a cool place in a well-covered crock, or in preserve jars. Two old-time recipes follow which are from the days when pies were a staple food on tables, it not being unusual for them to be served at breakfast, dinner and supper. In each recipe quantity for several bakings is given.
Traditional mince pie recipe from 1851 or earlier
Cool the meat from a shank of beef boiled 6 hours. Free from bone, fat, and gristle. Chop fine.
To 1 quart meat, add 3 quarts chopped apples, 1 quart each of chopped raisins, sugar, and molasses, 1 pint chopped suet, 1/2 cup each of salt and cinnamon, 1/4 cup each of cloves, mace and allspice, 6 grated nutmegs. Mix all thoroughly with the hands. Then turn on the mixture 6 quarts of good cider, and let stand overnight.
In the morning, scald in a porcelain kettle for 1 hour. Put in stone pots, cover tight, and keep in cool, dry place. This will keep 3 months. Prepare paste and plates as for apple pies and put in mincemeat. Grate a little nutmeg over it and strew a few whole raisins in; cover and bake 1 hour in moderate oven.
English mince pies (from prior to 1867, By Jenny June)
3-1/2 pounds each of good chopped beef (cooked and rid of fat and gristle), suet, raisins, and currants. 7 lbs. chopped apples, 2 lbs. sugar, 1 lb. candied citron, 1 oz. of nutmeg, 4 quarts of good cider vinegar, 1 pint best vinegar, 1 pint golden syrup, and salt (evidently to taste).
Half the raisins should be stoned and chopped, the other half left whole. The quantity, of course, may be reduced or increased.
Note: In this recipe is found a suggestion as follows: To our taste, the proportion of suet is altogether too large, 1 pound, especially if a shin of beef is used, being ample to secure rich pies. No common spices such as cloves or allspice, should be employed. Puff paste for pies is suggested, but any preferred pastry recipe can be used for these pies.
Chef of famous restaurant offers mince pie recipe (1937)
By Mrs Gaynor Maddox, Press Service – The Sheboygan Press (Sheboygan, Wisconsin) December 21, 1937
Here’s a recipe in the true Christmas spirit. The chef of a famous restaurant, noted for its mincemeat pies, gave it to me, even though he wants to sell all the pies he can.
Famous mince pie recipe
One chopped apple
1/2 cup seeded raisins, chopped
1/2 cup currants
1/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon boiled cider
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon powdered cloves
1/2 nutmeg, grated
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped cooked meat
1/4 cup brandy
stock or canned consomme to moisten
Mix all ingredients except the meat, and simmer an hour. Add meat and cook 15 minutes.
Prepare a tender pie crust, as follows:
Ingredients: 1-1/2 cups pastry flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup lard or other shortening, ice water.
Mix salt with flour. Reserve 2 tablespoons lard. With fingertips, case knife or pastry mixer, blend rest of lard with flour, then moisten dough with ice water. Place on floured board. Pat lightly. Roll out, again rolling gently.
Line a pie plate with 1/2 of the pie crust, rolled to 1/8 inch thickness. Fill with mincemeat, then fold other half of the pie crust, also rolled to 1, inch thickness, over the top of pie. Press edges together with fork dipped in water. Then trim edges. Prick top crust with fork to permit escape of steam. Brush lightly with milk or egg white if glaze is desired.
Real old-fashioned mincemeat recipes from the late Victorian era (1890s)
The other three mincemeat recipes are from the 1896 edition of The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book. One of the authors of that volume was another talented woman — the famous Fannie Farmer.
Mrs Logan’s mincemeat recipe
Mrs John A Logan… has one of the finest houses at the capital, and there is no kitchen managed better than hers.
It is from her that I get my recipe for Thanksgiving mincemeat, and this is the way she makes it:
Two pounds of beef chopped fine after being cooked, two pounds of suet chopped fine, four pounds of raisins, four pounds of apples, eight oranges, the peel of half a pound of citron — all chopped fine. One ounce of cinnamon, one of allspice, one of nutmeg, and two pounds of brown sugar.
There is nothing nicer than the salad as a Thanksgiving entree, and Mrs Logan has given me the following directions as to the dressing of the salad dish.
Take the white inside leaves of a cabbage and make a border, not allowing the leaves to fall too far over the sides of the dish, or make a border of curled lettuce. Then place the salad inside, smoothing it nicely.
Slice four small cucumber pickles lengthwise, which will make eight pieces. Pass each piece through a white ring of a hard-boiled egg and place them here and there — or you can place all the ends together in the center of the dish, allowing the other ends to diverge. This will form a kind of a flower. It will look prettier if a small round slice of jelly is placed where the ends meet.
Mrs John A Logan
Old-fashioned mincemeat recipes: Mince pie meat
Mince pies should be always baked with two crusts. For Thanksgiving and Christmas pies, puff paste is often used for rims and upper crusts.
4 pounds lean beef
2 pounds beef suet
3 pounds sugar
2 cups molasses
2 quarts cider
4 pounds raisins, seeded and cut in pieces
3 pounds currants
1/2 pound finely cut citron
1 quart cooking brandy
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon mace
1 tablespoon powdered cloves
2 grated nutmegs
1 teaspoon pepper
Salt to taste
Cover meat and suet with boiling water and cook until tender, cool in water in which they were cooked; the suet will rise to top, forming a cake of fat, which may be easily removed.
Finely chop meat, and add it to twice the amount of finely chopped apples. The apples should be quartered, cored, and pared, previous to chopping, or skins may be left on, which is not an objection if apples are finely chopped.
Add quinces finely chopped, sugar, molasses, cider, raisins, currants, and citron; also suet, and stock in which meat and suet were cooked, reduced to one and one-half cups. Heat gradually, stir occasionally, and cook slowly two hours; then add brandy and spices.
Old-fashioned mincemeat recipes: English mincemeat
5 pounds raisins, seeded, finely-chopped
5 pounds suet, finely-chopped
5 pounds apples, finely-chopped
4 pounds citron, finely-chopped
1-1/2 pounds blanched almonds, finely-chopped
5 pounds currants
5 pounds light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon mace
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2-1/2 cups brandy
Cook raisins, suet, apples, citron, currants, and sugar slowly for one and one-half hours; then add almonds, spices and brandy.
Old-fashioned mince made without liquor (alcohol)
Mix together one cup chopped apple, one-half cup raisins seeded and chopped, one-half cap currants, one-fourth cup butter, one tablespoon molasses, one tablespoon boiled cider, one cup sugar, one teaspoon cinnamon, one-half teaspoon cloves, one-half nutmeg grated, one salt-spoon of mace, and one teaspoon salt.
Add enough stock in which meat was cooked to moisten; heat gradually to boiling point and simmer one hour; then add one cup chopped meat and two tablespoons barberry jelly. Cook fifteen minutes.
Yankee mince pies: 5 classic mincemeat recipes (1920)
By Florence Taft Eaton
“One hundred pies on the pantry shelf” was the old ideal
An old lady of my acquaintance once told me that in her ambitious, young housekeeping days she used to always make 100 pies at the beginning of the winter, storing them in an otherwise unused, empty room, shelf-equipped for the purpose.
The story was very hard to believe, in spite of my friend’s unimpeachable character for veracity and also the fact that, in those times, a meal at which a pie or two did not appear on the table would considered a dismal failure; but I was assured of its truth.
We do not consider it any advantage nowadays to be too forehanded in regard to the finished pie product — in fact, to go to the other extreme, I partook of a Thanksgiving dinner a year or two ago for which the pies had been baked that very morning, the cook believing that “fresh pies” be really deserving of the term “fresh” and to be as good as possible must be made the day they are eaten.
1. Mrs Wheeler’s classic mincemeat recipe
Following is an excellent recipe for mincemeat, which even in pre-prohibition days did not call for any of the alcoholic additions then usually considered necessary.
Five quarts of chopped meat, ten quarts of chopped apples, six pounds of brown sugar, one quart of chopped suet, one quart of molasses, one quart of raisins, half a quart each of currants and citron (may be omitted if wished), one tablespoonful each of nutmeg and cloves, two tablespoonsful of cinnamon, one-half tablespoonful of mace; three fourths cupful of salt, the broth in which the meat was cooked and enough cider to moisten as you like it. Cook slowly and stir occasionally, for half a day.
To this recipe, I add the juice and grated rind of two lemons and two tumblersful of jelly or jelly leftovers. More fruit and spice may be added, if individual taste and purse allows. This makes a large quantity, and I usually halved the recipe. Also, if you prefer, you may use less meat and more apple. You may buy the bottled boiled cider, or use fresh cider, boiling it away somewhat.
A particularly definite and delectable recipe, the result of many years of careful experimenting, follows:
2. Mrs Smith’s Concordia mince
Half a pound of finely-chopped suet, three cupsful of chopped meat, four cupsful of chopped raisins, four cupsful of currants, four cupsful of brown sugar, half a pound of citron cut in small bits, three cupsful of white sugar, one cupful of molasses, nine cupsful of chopped apples, six cupsful of meat liquor, eight teaspoonsful of salt, six teaspoonsful of cinnamon, one and a half teaspoonsful each of mace and clove and allspice, one grated nutmeg, one quart of boiled cider, three lemons, juice and grated rind, two oranges (juice and rind), one tumblerful of barberry jelly or other tart variety. One half cupful of brandy and three fourths cupful of sherry were called for in the original recipe, but these may be omitted without spoiling the pie.
To this, as to any mincemeat, any bits of left-over jelly or jam or fruit syrup may be added. Three and one half pounds of shin beef will make about the amount called for. Wash carefully, cover with water and simmer until tender; remove meat and boil away liquor until you have about three pints. Simmer all together for two or three hours, covered, and stir. This makes about twelve-quart jarsful.
When making the pies, lay a few whole raisins on the mincemeat before applying the top crust. I should advise tasting in reference to salt.
3. Old “Hit-or-Miss” mincemeat recipe
In spite of the jibes and jeers which have been applied to the inexact “little of this and little of that” recipes of the unscientific but often unsurpassed cooks of “ye olden time,” some sorts of food lend themselves to this indefinite putting together.
I have in mind a mother and daughter who, every year, consecrate one long morning in early November to a real pre-holiday orgy; chopping and mixing the essentials, collecting dainties — part of a box of dried candied orange peel, tumblers of last year’s jellies or jams, a bit of candied fruit, an orange and lemon or two, testing at intervals — with the result, at the end of it all, of a big kettleful of truly delectable mincemeat in regard to whose composition never a recipe but experience and judgment has been consulted.
The following receiptless recipe may be safely tried by even the most inexperienced housekeeper. To get the full benefit and “fun,” however, two congenial members of the family should make it together!
Take any amount of meat, put through the meat chopper, using a pint bowl as a measure, three times as much chopped apple, same measure of chopped suet and molasses as meat, one pound of brown sugar, one teaspoonful each of clove and nutmeg, and two teaspoonsful of cinnamon and two tablespoonsful of salt to each bowl of meat.
Fruit (raisins, currants and citron), as wished or can be afforded, using mostly raisins and only a little citron, as it is very expensive at the present time. I prefer the raisins whole, and always wash the “perfectly clean” currants and raisins very carefully. Slice the citron thin. A good proportion is one package of raisins and half a package of currants and one-fourth pound of thinly-sliced citron to each bowl of meat.
Cook the meat the preceding day in just enough water to cover, and start the mincemeat with the broth and molasses. To this foundation, as above, add any suitable tidbits you can collect; anything that is good in itself and will combine well will be good in the mincemeat — a little sweet pickle syrup, two or three tumblersful of, preferably, tart jelly, forgotten jam that may be too dry for the table, cut in bits; canned fruit syrup, and always the grate and rind of a lemon or two and an orange, if on hand; boiled down sweet cider, if you can get it; if not, one-fourth cupful of vinegar and more fruit juice.
Stir well, taste to see if you like it, and supply more moistening, salt or sugar if you prefer.
I will promise you as delicious mince pies made by this recipe as you can wish, and a jolly time in the making! Let it simmer through the afternoon, being careful that it does not burn. This will keep in a crock in a cool cellar for a few weeks, but may be canned if you prefer.
4. Meatless mince pies
Five pounds of chopped apples (weighed after prepared), one-half pound of chopped suet, two pounds of raisins (one seeded and one seedless, chopping the seeded), one-half pound of finely-cut citron, one pound of brown sugar, three-fourths cupful of molasses, two dessert spoonsfuls (more if your taste dictates) of salt.
Add one-half teaspoonful each of mace and ground clove, one teaspoonful of nutmeg, two teaspoonsful of cinnamon, one teaspoonful of allspice, juice and grate of a lemon and an orange, one tumblerful of a tart jelly or half a tumblerful of two different kinds, and enough cider white grape juice or canned fruit juice to moisten sufficiently; if the latter, add four tablespoonsful of vinegar. Syrup of sweet pickle, if any is on hand, may be used as part of the liquid. Mix well, simmer two hours and store in a stone crock.
5. Impromptu mincemeat recipe
One cupful of any beef on hand (boiled beef, roast or remnants) chopped finely, three cupsful of chopped apples, one-half cupful of chopped suet, one and one-half cupsful of brown sugar, one cupful of seedless raisins, a very little sliced citron, one and one-half teaspoonsful each of salt and cinnamon, one quarter teaspoonful each of clove, mace and nutmeg, juice and grate of one lemon, two or three tablespoonsful of remnants of jelly and enough cider, sweet pickle vinegar or half of each added to same amount of meat broth to moisten. Simmer one hour.
Instead of all brown sugar, one-half cupful of it may be omitted and one-fourth cupful of molasses added, if the flavor of molasses is preferred. In making all of these mincemeats, I advise critical tasting at the end of the mixing and cooking, as individual preferences as to spice, sweetening and salt are so different.
I have aimed to give proportions to suit the average taste, out mincemeat lends itself perfectly to any preferred variations; also, some prefer a moister product than others.
Old-fashioned New England mincemeat recipes
Most people who have grown up in this country think that Thanksgiving and Christmas are not complete without the accompaniment of old-fashioned mince pie. There are so many variations of this rich, if indigestible, dainty, that the housewife who has not an inherited recipe may like to evolve one of her own.
New England mincemeat recipe (1914)
Three and one-half pounds of lean beef, round, and one pound of best kidney suet, finely minced and cooked together, slowly for four hours (use a double boiler or fireless cooker)
In a very small quantity of water; one peck of apples, cored, pared and chopped; two quarts of cider; four and one-half pounds of sugar; three pounds of seeded and chopped raisins; three pounds of washed currants; four tablespoonfuls of cinnamon; one teaspoonful each of cloves and mace; one tablespoonful of salt.
The advantage of this recipe is that it secures thorough cooking of the exact and avoids the strong flavor of molasses objected to by some mince pie experts.
New England mincemeat recipe (1917)
This is a rich and delicious mincemeat, the recipe for which has been in use for over 100 years [as of 1917].
2 pounds cooked tongue (finely chopped)
1 pound of fresh beef suet (finely chopped)
4 pounds Baldwin apples – quartered, pared and cored before chopping
2 cups of thick honey
1 small cup of molasses
1 quart of cider
2 pounds of raisins, seeded and cut into pieces
1-1/2 pounds currants
1/4 pound of finely-shredded citron
1/4 teaspoon of paprika
2 ounces minced candied lemon peel
Salt to taste
1/2 tablespoonful of mixed ground cinnamon and mace
1 grated nutmeg
1/2 tablespoon of powdered cloves
1 pint of boiled cider
Mix together all ingredients.
Turn into a kettle, add half a cupful of liquor in which the tongue was cooked, and simmer for about one hour and a quarter.
Half an hour before it is cooked, stir in cinnamon and mace, nutmeg, powdered cloves and boiled cider.
Make mine mince: 6 mincemeat recipes from 1950
By Marjorie Henderson
Packaged mincemeat gives a holiday touch to a variety of dishes
1. Bananas with mincemeat
Costs 25 cents (October 1950) – 6 servings
1/2 package dry mincemeat
2/3 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Break mincemeat into saucepan. Cook in boiling water for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Score bananas, and cut in 1/2-inch slices. Arrange in shallow baking dish, and spoon mincemeat evenly over the top. Sprinkle with brown sugar, and bake in moderate oven, 350 F, for about 10 minutes. Serve warm.
2. Chocolate mincemeat drop cookies
Costs 65 cents (October 1950) – Makes about 3 dozen
1-pound package chocolate cake mix
2/3 cup water
1 package dry mincemeat
1/2 cup chopped nuts or coconut
Combine cake mix and water, and beat until smooth. Break mincemeat into small pieces, and add to cake mix. Stir in nuts. Drop from teaspoon 2 to 3 inches apart onto greased cookie sheet. Bake in moderate oven, 350 F, for about 15 minutes. Remove at once from cookie sheet.
3. Pumpkin-mince pie
Costs 69 cents (October 1950) – makes one 10-inch pie
Pastry (1 cup flour)
1 package dry mincemeat
1 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
3/4 to 1 cup light-brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 tall can evaporated milk
2 tablespoons butter
2 eggs, grade B (1 white stiffly-beaten)
Few drops lemon extract
Line a deep 10-inch pie pan with pastry. Chill. Break mincemeat into saucepan. Cook in boiling water for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool; then chill. Mix pumpkin, sugar, salt, and spices in another saucepan. Stir in milk; add butter; heat until butter is melted. Pour over slightly beaten eggs; add flavoring. Strain onto stiffly beaten egg white, and mix. Cool.
Spread mincemeat in bottom of pastry-lined pan; pour pumpkin mixture over top. Bake in very hot oven, 500 F, for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to moderate, 325 F, and continue baking for 25 to 35 minutes, or until set.
4. Ginger-mince upside-down cake
Costs 60 cents (October 1950) – makes 8 servings
1 package dry mincemeat
1/2 cup boiling water
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 cups canned sliced apples
1 package gingerbread mix
Break mincemeat into saucepan. Cook in boiling water for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool. Melt the butter in an 8 x 8 x 2-inch baking pan; sprinkle with brown sugar. Arrange apple slices in pan, and pour mincemeat over apples. Prepare gingerbread mix as directed on the package, and pour over the mincemeat. Bake in moderate oven, 350 F, for about 35 minutes. When done, turn upside down onto a serving plate.
5. Holiday sweet potatoes
Costs 33 cents (October 1950) – Makes 4 servings
1 23-ounce can whole sweet potatoes in heavy syrup
1/2 package dry mincemeat
1/3 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
Empty sweet potatoes, undrained, into greased 2-quart casserole. Break mincemeat into saucepan. Cook in boiling water 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover sweet potatoes with mincemeat; sprinkle with brown sugar; dot with butter. Cover, and bake in moderate oven, 350 F, for about 45 minutes.
6. Mincemeat squares
Costs 44 cents (October 1950) – Makes 16 pieces
1 package dry mincemeat
1 cup boiling water
3/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup molasses
2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1 1/2 cups sifted flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
Break mincemeat into saucepan. Cook in boiling water for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool. Cream shortening. Add sugar gradually; then beat in molasses. Add dry ingredients; mix well. Spread half the oat mixture in greased 9 x 9 x 1-inch baking pan. Press mixture down firmly.
Spread mincemeat filling on oat mixture. Then spread evenly with remaining oat mixture, pressing down firmly with fingers. Bake in moderate oven, 350 F, for 30 to 40 minutes. Cool; cut into squares.
Costs are based on prices in large supermarkets throughout the United States as we go to press [in 1950].
Here’s a new flavor treat (1970)
Although the first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day, a national holiday to be enjoyed by all Americans.
Every family has traditional food they associate with the holiday. Many think of turkey, cranberries and perhaps two kinds of pie. For this year’s Thanksgiving, here’s a new flavor treat which combines cranberries and mincemeat in a taste-tempting lattice pie!
The flavors of tart cranberries and tangy orange are a delightful complement to the spicy mincemeat. Best of all, this “perfect” holiday pie filling is frozen cranberry-orange relish and canned mincemeat. This Thanksgiving, or, for that matter, any winter dessert time, do try Cranberry Mince Lattice Pie. It’s so delicious — bake two!
Cranberry mince lattice pie recipe
1/2 package (22 oz.) pie crust mix
1 jar (28 oz.) mincemeat
1 package (10 oz.) frozen cranberry-orange relish, thawed
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare pastry for 9 inch 2-crust pie as directed on package.
Line pie pan with half of pastry. Trim, leaving 1″ pastry overhanging edge. Brush edge with milk. Roll rest of pastry 1/8″ thick. Cut into 1/2″ strips (pastry wheel gives a pretty edge).
Mix mincemeat and cranberry-orange relish. Pour into pastry-lined pie pan. Lay half of pastry strips diagonally across pie; lay remainder straight across pie. Trim off even with edge of lower crust. Fold lower crust edge up over pastry strips; press firmly to seal strips to rim. Flute edge. Bake 30 to 35 min. Serve warm with ice cream.