I still remember my first-ever mincemeat pie, served on Christmas Day at the Charles Dickens Museum in London. It tasted warm and Christmas-y, the perfect treat after a cold trek across the city in the snow. Since then, my mind has associated mincemeat pies with a Dickensian, Victorian Christmas – but mincemeat pies actually go back much farther than that.
This recipe comes from Patrick Lamb’s 1710 cookbook, Royal Cookery, or the Complete Court-Cook. Patrick Lamb served as the master-cook to a succession of British monarchs, starting with King Charles II in 1683 and ending with Queen Anne in 1708. In addition to recipes, his book provides table layouts for some of the elaborate feasts he served at court – including coronation feasts, which he would have needed to prepare three times over the course of his career for three different monarchs.
This recipe, one of the first published recipes for pumpkin pie, comes from Amelia Simmons’ 1796 cookbook American Cookery, the first cookbook written by an American to be published in the United States.