by Francine Segan
from Shakespeare’s Kitchen: Renaissance Recipes for the Contemporary Cook
(Random House, 2003)
Serves 4 to 6
Elizabethan street vendors sold little minced meat pies like these, as well as oyster pies, apples, and nuts, to theatergoers. The audience of Shakespeare’s plays ate during the entire production and tossed cores, shells, and scraps onto the theater floor.
These tiny meat pies delicately flavored with Cointreau, an orange liqueur, are just perfect now as then, for picnics or pre-theater nibbling.—Francine Segan
For the Renaissance dough
2 cups sifted loosely packed pastry flour
1/2 cup ice-cold water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, beaten, cold
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut in small cubes, cold
For the meat pies
8 ounces ground lamb, beef, or veal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly milled black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
3 pitted dried plums (prunes), finely chopped
1/2 cup currants
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 recipe Renaissance Dough (above)
1/4 cup Cointreau
1/2 cup thick-cut orange marmalade
Make the Renaissance dough
1. Mix the flour, 1/2 cup ice-cold water, the salt, and egg together on a cold surface until crumbly. Flatten the dough with a rolling pin and place one quarter of the butter cubes on the dough. (Keep the remaining butter refrigerated until ready to use.)
2. Roll the butter into the dough, fold the dough over, and roll it again. Repeat the process 3 more times until all the butter is incorporated. Cover the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Make the meat pies
1. Combine the meat, pepper, salt, nutmeg, mace, dried plums, currants, and orange juice in a bowl and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or overnight. Remove the meat mixture from the refrigerator 1 hour before baking.
2. Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C).
3. Roll out Renaissance dough 1/16 inch thick on a floured work surface. Cut twenty-four 3-inch circles from the dough. Press the dough circles into mini-muffin pans. Loosely fill each muffin cup with the meat mixture (about 1 tablespoon per pie) and bake for 15 minutes.
4. Bring the Cointreau to a boil in a small saucepan, stir in the marmalade, and cook until the marmalade is warm.
5. Spoon some of the marmalade mixture on top of each mince pie and serve.
Recipe © 2003 Francine Segan. All rights reserved.