Last night my daughter Lili and I made mincepies. We do it every Christmas. We make dozens of them. This was the first batch, for my bookclub Christmas meeting and for Lili’s Christmas dinner with her friends.
Lili has done a blog that includes the recipe and photos of us making them.
We alternate between two recipes. One is from a very battered vegetarian cook book that my husband John bought in London about 35 years ago. (He was a chef in a vegetarian restaurant over there for a while.) The ingredients are measured in pounds and ounces. As we were mixing and rolling, we were pondering why the abbreviation for pounds is lbs. It seems typically, obscurely English, but I was sure there would be a sensible reason. According to Wikipedia, when the Romans invaded Britain they had a unit of weight called a libra (like the astrology sign). It also means scales. A libra happened to be roughly the same weight as a British pound, and the two merged.
Apparently, mincepies have been made since Medieval times. They used to contain minced meat as well as minced dried fruit. Nowadays it is all fruit, however there is a leftover from this early recipe. Mincepies are traditionally made with suet ie the raw fat from around a cow’s kidney. That’s why we use a recipe from a vegetarian recipe book which leaves out the suet. Actually we don’t mince the fruit either, so I suppose ours aren’t very traditional. They do taste good though.