Since we’re not open for the public, no one is actually cooking in the 1627 English Village. But, if we WERE open, you might find someone contemplating Christmas – in private – and thinking about mince pie. Mincemeat in the 17th century had actual meat in it, as this recipe from Gervase Markham’s English Huswife (1623 ed, pp. 103-4):
A minc’t pie.
Take a Leg of Mutton, and cut the best of the best flesh from the bone, and parboyle it well: then put to it three pound of the best Mutton suet, and shred it very small: then spred it abroad, and season it with pepper and salt, cloues and mace : then put in good store of currants, great raysons and prunes cleane washt and pickt, a few dates slic’t, and some orange pills slic’t: then being all well mixt together, put into a coffin, or into diuers coffins, and so bake them: and when they are serued vp open the liddes, and strow store of suger on the top of the meat, and upon the lid. And in this sort you may also bake Beefe or Veale; onely the Beefe would not be parboyled, and the Veale will aske a double quantitie of suet.
A few quick notes -
orange pills are peels
coffins are stand alone pastry cases (but there is no reason not to use a pie plate), diuers are diverse or several
liddes are the upper crust of the pie
Why would someone in 1627 keep a meat pie a secret? Perhaps because some Puritans thought mince pie a Christmas no better then ‘Idolatry in a crust’.
Thank you Lisa, Paula and Kathleen for baking mince pies with me.
Kathleen M. Wall
Colonial Foodways Manager
Tags: Pilgrim food