I asked my friend what was in the pie. She said she uses green tomatoes, raisins, molasses, and other ingredients.
I looked up recipes for mincemeat pies. Some contain meat and/or suet, the raw, hard fat of beef or mutton found around the loins and kidneys.
I think my mom made mincemeat pies with mincemeat she bought in a jar. I don’t remember her getting suet and other ingredients and making it from scratch.
My dad, whose ancestors came from England, liked the pies for the Christmas holidays. He liked plum pudding as well.
One brand of prepared mincemeat I found contains sugar; apples; sultanas; raisins; currants; lemon and orange peel; vegetable suet made from palm oil, sunflower oil, and rice flour; treacle; citric acid; and spices – cinnamon, coriander, dill, fennel, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and cassia.
Mincemeat came to the British Isles with the Crusaders in the 12th century and became more commonly available as the trade routes opened up from the 15th century onwards, according to the article “Pantry Essentials: All About Mincemeat.” The antimicrobial properties of spices offered a way to keep meat through the winter and may also have disguised the flavor of old meat.
The author of the article, Andrew Wheeler, offers a mincemeat pie featuring bacon and bacon fat.
Here are links for other mincemeat pie recipes:
- Mincemeat Pie – Alton Brown, Food Network
- Unbelievably Easy Mince Pies – BBC Good Food
- Meatless Mincemeat Pie – All Recipes
- Green Tomato Mincemeat – Mother Earth News
Here’s a recipe from the University of Florida, IFAS Extension on how to make mincemeat:
Festive Mincemeat Pie Filling
2 cups finely chopped suet
4 lbs ground beef or 4 lbs ground venison and 1 lb sausage
5 quarts chopped apples
2 lbs dark seedless raisins
1 lb white raisins
2 quarts apple cider
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground nutmeg
5 cups sugar
2 tbsp salt
Yield: About 7 quarts
Cook meat and suet in water to avoid browning. Peel, core, and quarter apples. Put meat, suet, and apples through food grinder using a medium blade. Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan, and simmer 1 hour or until slightly thickened. Stir often. Fill jars with mixture, leaving 1-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process in a pressure canner.