Official Start of the Mince Pie Season

In the past, little fresh food was available at this time, but Yule was a time of great feasting and merrymaking when special, carefully hoarded and stored foods, such as sweets, costly spices, dried fruit, liqueurs and spirits, were brought out to celebrate the rebirth of the Sun and impart a little cheer in the depths of winter, as well as being an act of trust in the harvest yet to come next autumn. Seasonal treats included mince pies. For those who don’t know, mince pies are small, individual shortcrust pastry pies or tartlets filled with sweet mincemeat i.e., dried fruit and spices.  There is a superstition that you should eat a mince pie every day of the Twelve Days, and each one eaten will give you a month of good health in the coming year. I certainly shall!


1 lb currants

1 lb raisins

1 lb sultanas

1 lb cooking apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped or coarsely grated

1 lb chopped vegetarian suet

3 ½ oz blanched almonds, roughly chopped

1 lb light muscovado sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1 pinch grated nutmeg

1.5 tsp mixed spice

1 lemons, grated rind and juice

1 oranges, grated rind and juice

7 oz mixed candied peel, chopped

7 fl oz dark rum

9 fl oz dry sherry

Mix everything together in a really large bowl. It’s a good idea to get stuck in and use your hands for this. Cover the bowl and leave on one side for a day so that the flavours can develop. Give it a good stir now and again. Pack the mincemeat into sterilised jars, seal with greaseproof paper jam pot covers and tight-fitting lids. Store in a cool place – if you have the time, let the mincemeat mature for 2-3 weeks before using it for mince pies.

© Anna Franklin, The Hearth Witch’s Year, Llewellyn, 2021


Author: annafranklinblog

Anna Franklin is the High Priestess of the Hearth of Arianrhod, which runs teaching circles, a working coven, and the annual Mercian Gathering, a Pagan camp which raises money for charity. She regularly speaks at conferences, moots and workshops around the country. She is the author of many books on witchcraft and Paganism, including the popular Pagan Ways Tarot, Sacred Circle Tarot, The Fairy Ring, Herb Craft, Magical Incenses and Oils, Personal Power, A Romantic Guide to Handfasting, Familiars, The Oracle of the Goddess, Hearth Witch, The Path of the Shaman and The Hearth Witch’s Compendium. Anna’s books have been translated into nine languages.

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