Wednesday, January 8, 2014

12th Night Feast - making medievial fruit mince pies

The feasting table
We celebrated 12th Night with a food feast for 22 friends. It was a marvellous evening, we ate, we laughed, our two Kings of Misrule, who found the token in the deserts, kept us entertained and made us entertain them with games and caroling. We played 'Snip Snap Dragon', 'Pass the Lemon' (my stomach muscles are still sore from laughing!), we sang carols, played rhyming and category games and had a fabulous time.

The food was a mix of contemporary and historic recipes, the oldest being a fruit mince pie recipe from 1498. I found the recipe on the interwebs and didn't book mark it and can no longer find it, so I am writing it here while its still in my memory because they were delicious!

Fruit mince pies with pork mince

Fruit mince pies from 1498
The filling makes approx 30 small pies

Enough short crust pastry to make 30 small pies, home made or shop bought
Pie filling
500 gms of pork mince
1 cup of fortified wine (I used port)
6 strands of saffron in a cup of warm water
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon cinamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ground mace (I used nutmeg)
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 apple, peeled and grated
Rind of one orange
2 tablespoons vinegar or verjuice
60 gms of breadcrumbs
1 cup of chopped prunes
1 cup of chopped dates
1 cup of chopped raisins
1 egg

Mix all the pie filling ingredients in a bowl, cover and place in fridge, allow all the flavours to mature over 24 hours.

Make 30 small pie cases, I didn't use a pie top, but you could. Then, place your mince mixture into your pastry cases, bake for 15 minutes or until your pastry is brown and the mixture cooked. I taste tested it to be sure :)

N.B. because of the meat, don't keep the mixture longer than 3 days in the fridge before baking.

Explaining Kings of Misrule
 Our 12th Night Feast menu: 

12th Night Renaissance Feast

First remove

Pea pottage with mint and sour cream
Roasted Pumpkin pottage
Limited availability
Fruit mince pies
Dried fruits and spices from the Holy Land, mixed with pork and macerated in port
Pork wrapped in pastry
Pork, parsley, onion, spices from the Holy Land
Dipping sauce
Yogurt, orange peel and mint

Second remove

A delicacy from Greece with the new food sensation, pasta
Beef, spices from the Holy Land, tomatoes from the Americas, eggs, milk, wheat pasta

Third remove

Stuffed with pork, turkey & cranberries from the Americas, spices from the Holy Land
Roasted potatoes
A new vegetable from the Americas
Parsnip, porcini and potatoes cooked in cream
French beans with pancetta

Fourth remove
King Cake
Natale Torte

To give us our Kings of Misrule for this 12th Night festivities, a bean has been placed in both cakes. If you get the bean, you will be crowned King of Misrule and J-L shall give you a list of entertainments to keep the company amused.

Most dishes are based on Renaissance recipes

 Passing the lemon!

Its lovely to see adults playing!

The laughter was so loud the neighbours remarked on it next day :)

Our dog Astro, King of Misrule all year round!


I'm The Tailor's Apprentice, maker of The Miss Page 1940s reproduction patterns, gowns developed from pattern pieces found amongst the remnants of Miss Violet Florence Page’s life and work. Affordable, elegant, and unique garments from the 1940s war years. 

All my patterns are available on Etsy and my website where you'll find out more about me as well. This year I am publishing an 1820s gown wardrobe pattern and an Australian Army Nurses Services WWI uniform pattern.

If you'd liked to be included on my mailing list for events, pattern release dates and interesting snippets about vintage and historic sewing, please subscribe to my Newsletter on The Tailor's Apprentice website.


  1. Adore your blog and you're also one of my favorite twitter accounts! Always something fascinating to post. I am looking forward to the 1820's patterns. Any idea when you will be releasing them?

    1. Thanks so much :)

      I'm in the throes of WWI at the moment with my AANS Uniforms. Once these are published, its the turn of the 1820s patterns. I do want to publish them :)

    2. Wonderful I will contain my excitement until then and get on with organising my sewing room and sourcing fabric for the patterns.


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