Mince Pies are one of the most delicious aspects of Christmas. For this writer, the festive season hasn’t started proper unless there are mince pies in the house. There’s something about the buttery rich pastry and spicy fruit mix that just makes pure magic to eat. But this wasn’t always the filling for mince pies. As the name suggests, original fillings were made of minced or finely chopped meat – beef or lamb – with spices like cinnamon and nutmeg to flavour. These savoury pies were often larger than the individual pies we know today, and oval or rectangular in shape, representing the manger of the Baby Jesus. The lid covering the filling represented the Holy Child’s ‘swaddling clothes’. More ornate toppings included pastry cut out in the shape of a baby to represent Jesus lying in the manger. It was the Victorians who began to abandon the meat in the filling, in favour of dried fruits we love today. These were sometimes included in savoury mince pies, but as the years went by, began to be the preferred filling. We totally agree with that! Lids became more fancy also than the simple flat disc of pastry used to enclose the fruit. In the big Victorian homes, decorating the mince pies was a status symbol to guests – showing off the skills of the chef! These days, our chefs finish their home made mince pies with stars, pastry strips, and even festive crumble toppings. Dustings of icing sugar make pretty frosting for serving. So do tell us – how do you like your mince pies?!