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10 Quirky Mince Pie Facts in the UK

Indulge in the festive magic of mince pies! From medieval origins to modern delights, these sweet treats are a Christmas tradition like no other and we’ve got some fun facts about these delightful festive treats.

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Historical Roots: Mince pies have a long history in the UK, dating back to medieval times. Originally, they were filled with a mixture of finely chopped meat, fruits, and spices, reflecting a blend of sweet and savory flavors.

Puritan Ban: In the 17th century, mince pies were briefly banned by Oliver Cromwell and the Puritans, who considered the festive treat too indulgent. The ban was lifted after the restoration of the monarchy.

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13 Ingredients Tradition: Traditional mince pie recipes in the UK often include 13 ingredients, symbolizing Jesus and his 12 apostles. Each ingredient is meant to represent one of them.

Good Luck for the Year: It’s a popular belief in the UK that eating a mince pie every day from Christmas to Twelfth Night (January 5th) brings good luck for the coming year.

Serving Customs: Mince pies are typically served warm, sometimes with a dollop of brandy butter, cream, or custard. It’s a quintessential part of the Christmas dessert table.

Mincemeat Ingredients Evolution: Modern mince pies usually contain a mixture known as mincemeat, which no longer includes meat but consists of suet, dried fruits, spices, sugar, and alcohol. The alcohol, often brandy or rum, acts as a preservative, allowing the pies to be stored for an extended period.

Size Matters: Traditionally, mince pies were larger and oval-shaped, representing the manger where Jesus slept. Today, they are typically smaller and round.

Legal Definition: The UK has a legal definition of what constitutes a mince pie. It must contain a minimum of 25% dried fruit and 29% mincemeat.

World Record: In 2012, the largest mince pie ever made weighed a whopping 1,364 kg (3,007 lbs). It was created in the UK and measured 4.5 meters in diameter.

Alternative Shapes: In recent years, creative bakers have experimented with different shapes for mince pies, including stars, Christmas trees, and even lattice patterns, adding a modern twist to the traditional treat.

In 2023 we announced our winner of the best Mince Pies for Christmas in our taste test and Aldi’s Holly Lane Deep Filled Mince Pies (6 pack) were reduced in price to just 55p – that’s only 9p per pie!