Eggnog and mincemeat pie recipes to help make Christmas more merry

features@beaufortgazette.comDecember 19, 2012 

Christmas is that warm and wonderful time of the year when we renew ties with old friends and exchange sentiments of good will. Beaufort offers so much to enjoy, and there are so many warm faces and smiles to greet as one offers the salutation of "Merry Christmas."

I think the real enjoyment of Christmas lies in its preparation. It means making a list, checking it twice and staying mindful of the season.

Christmas is the time when one brings forth traditions of childhood and adds new ideas to make the season bright. As friends talk of getting together for laughter and food, I have begun to wrap gifts that I feel match the personalities of each recipient. I have a setup with ribbons, wrapping paper, boxes, bags, scissors and strings. Christmas carols play as I check off more items on my list each day.

The season also is a time of keeping up because it's easy to fall behind. I just checked the date, and it seems like time is flying. As I sort through recipes, I've found some that will offer an abundance so there will be enough for your family and some to share with others as we all say, "Merry Christmas."

MULLED WINE WITH CRANBERRIES

2 bottles, or 1/2 gallon dry red wine

1/2 teaspoon ground mace

6 teaspoons honey

1 cup fresh cranberries, washed

1 cup brandy (optional)

3 thin slices lemon

3 thin slices oranges

In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the wine, mace, honey and half the cranberries until almost boiling. Stir in brandy. Pour into 3- and 4-quart serving bowl. Float lemon and orange slices and remaining cranberries on top. Stir with cinnamon sticks, then float the sticks in the wine. Makes: 16 to 20 servings

EGGNOG

1 pint heavy cream

6 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground mace

1 cup brandy (optional)

2 quarts cold, whole milk

Grated rind 1 orange

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Whip cream until stiff. Beat eggs, vanilla, sugar, mace and brandy until thick. Stir in milk. Pour into a 4-quart serving bowl. Stir in whipped cream. Sprinkle with grated orange rind and nutmeg. Makes: 16 servings.

MINCEMEAT

3/4 pound white beef suet

3/4 pound each currants, raisins, sultana raisins

3/4 pound peeled chopped apple

1/2 pound each chopped citron, candied orange peel, candied lemon peel

1/2 pound blanched almonds

1 ounce blanched bitter almonds

1/8 teaspoon each cinnamon, mace, salt, white pepper

3/4 cup brandy

Grated rind 1 lemon

Strained juice 1 lemon

Put suet through fine blade of chopper twice. In large bowl, combine suet with currants, raisins and apple. Fine chop citron, peels and almonds; add to suet mixture. Combine cinnamon, mace, salt and pepper; add to suet mixture. Bake in ovenproof dish in preheated 300-degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven; stir in brandy, lemon rind and juice. Seal in a 4- or 5-quart crock or bowl. Will keep in refrigerator for two weeks or frozen indefinitely. Makes enough for four big pies.

MINCEMEAT PIE

Pastry dough for 2-crust, 9-inch pie

Cold milk

4 cups mincemeat

Fit bottom crust into 8- or 9-inch pie plate. Fill with mincemeat. Cover with top crust; slash and brush with cold milk. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Makes: 8 to 10 servings.

FRUIT CAKE

1 1/2 pounds shortening

2 pounds sugar

2 pounds pastry flour

1 teaspoon each allspice, cinnamon, baking soda

14 eggs

1 teaspoon almond extract

4 pounds mixed candied fruits

1 pound each pitted dates, candied cherries,

3 pounds raisins

1 pound each chopped pecans, slivered blanched almonds

1/2 cup rum or brandy

1/2 pound each pecans halves, candied cherries

In a very large salad bowl, cream shortening with sugar. Into another bowl, sift flour with allspice, cinnamon, and soda. In another large bowl, beat eggs and almond extract until thick. Beat egg and flour mixtures alternately into shortening mixture. On floured board, chop candied fruits, dates, one pound cherries and raisins. Chop one pound of pecans coarsely. Mix fruits, chopped pecans, and almonds; beat into batter. Mix in rum. Turn into four greased, floured 7- or 8-inch tube pans. decorate with candied cherries and pecan halves. Bake in oven preheated to 275 degrees for 2 hours or until straw inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans on rack 2 or 3 hours. Turn out; wrap in cheesecloth rinsed in rum. Seal in foil. Makes four cakes.

Source: "The Family Creative Workshop, Volume 4" (1974)

Columnist Ervena Faulkner is a Port Royal resident and a retired educator who has always had an interest in food and nutrition. Email her at features@beaufortgazette.com.

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