Mrs Beeton’s Excellent Mincemeat Recipe – homemade is best!


In about 1860 Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management was published as a guide to all aspects of running a household in Victorian Britain.

In reality, Mrs Beeton wasn't very experienced in running a household of the type she wrote of - but some of her recipes (many reputedly 'borrowed' from others) are still used today.


King Henry V of England famously served a mincemeat pie at his coronation in 1413 (although his version probably did contain meat!).  But it was King Henry VIII who favored mincemeat so much that he began to eat it as his main component of his Christmas feast. And as often with the royals…they set the trends, so every fashionable family also began to serving the pies. And so the tradition of eating them during the Christmas season began.

This Victorian recipe was published by Mrs Beeton along with a couple of others, one containing meat and another economy version. But here we're sharing the 'Excellent' version.





Citron can still be found, though not readily. Instead increase the other fruit peel amounts.


Method - or 'Mode' as Mrs Beeton calls it

Grate the rinds of the lemons; squeeze out the juice, strain it, and boil the remainder of the lemons until tender enough to pulp or chop very finely.

Then add to this pulp the apples, which should be baked, and their skins and cores removed;

Put in the remaining ingredients one by one, and, as they are added, mix everything very thoroughly together.  

Put the mincemeat into a jar with a closely-fitting lid, and in a fortnight it will be ready for use.


Seasonable – This should be made the first or second week in December. That should give you just enough time to do the shopping, then make the mince pies!


From:  Isabella Beeton, Beeton’s Book of Household Management, 1861

Posted in Old Hat, Vintage living and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .