Lemon Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake – Rock Recipes

Lemon Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake – two extremely complimentary flavours come together deliciously when a blueberry compote gets swirled through a creamy lemon cheesecake.

This lemon blueberry swirl cheesecake joins quite a list of cookie, cake and dessert recipes on this website that contain the deliciously complimentary flavours of lemon and blueberry. This past Thanksgiving, just last week here in Canada, saw this creamy cheesecake join my and Bumbleberry Pie as one of the three the three desserts that I served up to guests and our family that day. Other neighbours and friends happily joined in the leftover bounty and raved about this cheesecake.

Many people like to have cheesecake as a non-traditional birthday cake and this one would be perfect for the lemon lover in your life.

Like this Lemon Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake Recipe?

You’ll find plenty of other delicious ideas like this in pour Cakes and Pies Category and even more in our .

Lemon Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake – two extremely complimentary flavours come together deliciously when a blueberry compote gets swirled through a creamy lemon cheesecake.

For the Blueberry Compote

For the cookie crumb crust

For the cheesecake batter

  • 3 eight ounce packages of cream cheese (3 cups in total)
  • Zest of 2 lemons very finely minced you can use less of you prefer milder lemon flavour

For the Vanilla Whipped Cream (optional)

To prepare the Blueberry Compote

  1. Prepare the blueberry compote at least an hour ahead of the cheesecake batter so that it has an opportunity to cool.

  2. Slowly simmer the berries and sugar over low heat for about 10 minutes.

  3. Dissolve the corn starch in the water and slowly pour into the boiling berries stirring constantly until thickened.

To prepare the cookie crumb crust

    Simply mix the graham crumbs, sugar and melted butter well and press evenly into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan. I like to line the bottom with parchment paper to easily release the cheesecake from the pan when it is cool.

To prepare the cheesecake batter

  1. Cream together the cream cheese and sugar for 2 to 3 minutes until well combined.

  2. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

  3. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest.

  4. Finally blend in the whipping cream well until the batter is very smooth. Using a rubber bowl scraper/spatula, scrape the bottom and the sides of the bowl as well as the electric beaters/paddle and give the batter a final beating for 1 minute on a higher speed. This final step ensures that there are no lumps in the batter and introduces a little air into the cheesecake to make it lighter.

  5. Pour over the prepared base and drop teaspoonfuls of the blueberry compote over the surface of the batter.

  6. With the handle of a wooden spoon, and being careful not to hit the bottom crust layer, swirl the compote through the cheesecake batter.

  7. Bake in a bain marie at 300 degrees F for 60-70 minutes. (Oven temperatures will vary slightly. Mine takes the full 70 minutes and you can go to 75 if you feel you need to.)

  8. Don’t be an compulsive oven door opener! Don’t open it at all in the first hour.

  9. The cheesecake does not have to brown at all in order to be fully baked; the surface of the cheesecake should lose any shine when the cake is properly baked. It can still be slightly wobbly just at the center at this point.

  10. Allow the cake to cool to room temperature before moving it to the fridge to chill completely.

Tp prepare the Vanilla Whipped cream

  1. Simply beat all of the ingredients together with an electric mixer until firm peaks form.

  2. Pipe the prepared cream around the perimeter of the cheesecake.

In my opinion, baking the perfect cheesecake requires the use of a bain marie during baking. A bain marie is simply a water bath that buffers the direct heat from the sides and bottom of the baking pan to more evenly bake the cheesecake from the sides to the center.

I bake my cheesecakes in a 9 inch spring form pan that has the bottom and sides wrapped in multiple layers of wide heavy duty aluminum foil which forms a sort of boat that the cheesecake pan sits in. The roll of aluminum foil that I use is about 16 inches wide. I use at least 4 layers of foil to make sure that no water leaks in and ruins the crust of my cheesecake. Wrapping the bottom of the pan in plastic wrap before the foil is added is also a good idea. The temperature doesn’t get hot enough to melt it and it doesn’t come into contact with the cheesecake anyway. The aluminum foil wrapped pan is then placed inside a larger baking pan; I use a 12 inch cake pan. Boiling water is then poured into the larger pan filling it from ½ to ⅔ of the way to the top.I find it best to pour the boiling water into the pan after it is placed on the rack in the oven as you are less likely to splash water onto the cheesecake or inside the aluminum foil. I reuse the aluminum foil for several future cheesecakes, adding a couple of layers to it each time just to be safe.

EVEN IF YOU CHOOSE NOT USE A BAIN MARIE still use the aluminum foil wrap around the cheesecake pan. The aluminum foil still offers a good buffer to the heat. High heat and baking too quickly is the main reason that a cheesecake becomes dense and not creamy.

Blueberry Crumble Cheesecake Bars – Life Made Simple

I love baking with fresh blueberries, don’t you? They undergo a magical transformation when exposed to heat that makes them turn that beautiful color and burst on impact. The other day I knew I wanted to bake something for National Cheesecake Day, I mean, I’m kind of obsessed with cheesecake. Instead of doing something with chocolate or candies, I decided to use the fresh blueberries I had in my refrigerator. Stephen loves blueberry truffles so I figured he’d really enjoy these bars. I started off with a traditional graham cracker crust, then filled it with a vanilla cheesecake, topped it with those delicious berries and then cover it with a layer of sugary buttery crumble. Perfection! These bars scream summer to me! I think they’d be great with mixed berries or even peaches too! I know we’ll be eating a few of these to celebrate, how about you?! For more cheesecake inspiration, click !

Blueberry Crumble Cheesecake Bars
Filling ingredients
12 oz. cream cheese
½ c. sour cream
½ c. sugar
2 eggs
½ tsp. salt
1½ tsp. vanilla or vanilla bean paste

2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 c. fresh blueberries, rinsed and patted dry

Graham cracker crust:
10 graham crackers, finely crushed
3 tbsp. sugar
4 tbsp. (½ stick) butter, melted

Crumble topping:
1 c. all-purpose flour
¼ c. brown sugar
¼ c. sugar
7 tbsp. butter, cold

DIRECTIONS: Adapted from
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8×8 square baking pan* with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on at least 2 sides for easy removal.
2. In a medium size mixing bowl combine crust ingredients, then spread into prepared pan, creating an even layer. I pressed mine flat with the bottom, of a measuring cup. Place in oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool while preparing the remaining components.
3. In a small mixing bowl, combine all blueberry ingredients, toss gently to combine, set aside.
4. In a medium size mixing bowl, combine all ingredients for crumble topping. Cut the butter in with a pastry blender until the mixture is coarse, set aside.
5. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together cream cheese, sour cream and sugar until smooth. NOTE: it’s really important that the cream cheese, sour cream and eggs are at room temperature, otherwise you’ll end up with a clumpy batter! With mixing speed on low, add vanilla, salt and one egg. Mix until combined, then add the remaining egg, mixing until incorporated.
6. Pour the cheesecake batter over the baked (and slightly cool) crust. Spread evenly with a spatula. Carefully place blueberry mixture over top, evenly covering the cheesecake. Finally, top with crumble. Place in oven and bake for 40-45 minutes or until the cheesecake has set and the crumble is lightly golden brown in color. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 1½ hours or until it reaches room temperature. Place in refrigerator and chill for at least 4 hours before removing, cutting and serving.
NOTE: *The pan will be completely full almost to the top, so make sure it’s 2″ in height! Also, this can be baked in a 9″ round cheesecake pan… although the baking time may vary and the result will be a thinner cheesecake. I have not yet tried this, so I can’t give exact time amounts.
Tyler Florence, Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars | Makes approximately 12 bars

The Food Timeline–Christmas food history

“A Party Idea.

A popular once-a-year party is the Christmas cooky swap party. Friends and neighbors gather, each bringing one dozen of her holiday specialty for each woman at the party. Cookies are set out to sample and admire and coffee is served. Afterward each one takes home a wonderful variety of festive cookies.”
Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book, facsimile reprint of 1963 edition [Hungry Minds:New York] 2002 (p. 37)

The Wellesley Cookie Exchange, arguably the most famous of American exchanges, began in 1971. According to this article, it was inspired by an ariticle in a “women’s” magazine:

“Snowflake Cheese Tarts. Butter Horns. Pecan Tartlets. Melting Moments. Lemon Snowballs. These are some of the cookies that document the history of the Wellesley Cookie Exchange. Each has been presented at least once in the 25 years the group has met to trade home-baked holiday goodies. This year’s exchange, scheduled to take place today, will once again bring an assortment of sugar-dusted confections to Mary Bevilacqua’s living room. This tradition, started by Bevilacqua and her friend, Laurel Gabel (who has since moved away), has become a beloved part of the holiday season for the 25 women who participate. Though many churches and informal groups hold cookie exchanges each year, the Wellesley group is one of the few that has inspired a cookbook. Susan Mahnke Peery of Yankee magazine collected 200 of their recipes and added her own to “The Wellesley Cookie Exchange Cookbook” (Dodd, Mead & Co., 1986). Readers from around the country still write to Bevilacqua about the book and one of the “Wellesley Cookie Exchange” recipes was published in Family Circle in December 1995. Much of the group’s longevity comes from the old-fashioned fun of swapping holiday treats. But the cookie exchange also anchors the holiday season for participants who like the continuity of this once-a-year event.

“We look forward to it,” said Leah Rourke, who has been participating for almost 20 years. “Today, people don’t bother with things a lot. Everyone’s in a hurry. It’s nice to keep a tradition.” Bevilacqua helps set the festive tone by decorating her home with Christmas table runners, placemats and china. She also serves a buffet lunch or dinner before the official exchanging begins. Each member arrives with three dozen cookies to share and an empty container. Bevilacqua calls the crowd to order by ringing a bell. Then each person passes her cookies around for all to sample. By the end of the exchange, each participant has assembled a container full of assorted cookies – and heard plenty of humorous stories. “Everyone gets a chance to tell about her cookies. We hear who left out what, or how the name of the cookies was changed because they were supposed to be fingers and they looked like blobs,” said Bevilacqua. She always bakes an extra batch in case someone has a disaster that prevents her from bringing cookies. Though some people make the same cookies each year – traditional favorites such as gingerbread men or candy-cane twists always turn up – others try a different recipe each year. “I’ll be on the beach reading recipes in the summer and start thinking about what to make for the exchange,” said Lynne Casale, who has been participating for 16 years. Laughing, she remembered the year her husband and stepchildren ate up all the cookies she had baked for the group, leaving her scrambling for a replacement. Though many women go all out and try recipes that would challenge a professional pastry chef, the atmosphere is more friendly than competitive. Bevilacqua said, “Brownies are fine. Not everybody makes fancy things.”

Kathleen Miller, who has known Bevilacqua since both were in college, said, “You get a wonderful assortment to take home. I always go home and sample one, and then another ” Starting a longstanding tradition was the furthest thing from Bevilacqua’s mind when she and Gabel began the exchange in 1971. “I had read a magazine article about a cookie exchange as a way to de-stress the holidays,” she said. As a mother of four young children, she thought it was a good idea. Since the cookbook was published, Bevilacqua has compiled enough recipes for another book. The cookie exchange tradition has also come full circle in her family. Her two daughters participate each year, and one has started her own exchange.”
—“Food Folk: Cookie Exchange shares the wealth – for 25 years,” Clara Silverstein Boston Herald, December 15, 1996 (p. 57)

Holiday cheese logs & balls
Food historians confirm the practice of giving/sharing food with loved ones on special occasions is as old as human-kind. Food means life. Giving food symbolizes the sharing of life. Ancient cultures typically shared cakes, meat, sweets, bread, and wine during feast times. Some of these foods also became symbolic in religious ceremonies. Hard cheeses have long been valued and shared. In pre-industrial times, any food able to withstand the tests of temperature and time was indeed precious. Softer cheeses did not stand this test, and were therefore valued even more (especially when encrusted with expensive nuts) for their cost and care.

Our survey of “cheese ball” recipes in USA cookbooks and newspapers returned a wide variety of recipes and applications. Much to our surprise, cheese ball can be deep fried, baked, or refrigerated. They can be served hot or cold. They can accompany salads, be served as appetizers or pop up as desserts. Festive holiday nut-encrusted cheese presentations are also proffered commercially. If you are looking for specific recipes from particular cookbooks/chefs let us know. Happy to help you track them down!

USA holiday cheese logs (& balls) recipe sampler

“Cheese balls served hot with salads, are made of a cup of grated cheese, half a cup of fine bread crumbs, five drops of Worcestershire sauce, and one egg well beaten. Mix together, roll into balls, and place in a wire frying basket and just before time to serve plunge the basket into boiling fat and allow them to remain until a delicate brown.”
—“For the Housekeeper,”New York Times, June 18 1899 (p. 20)

“Cheese Balls, No. 1

Take one cake of cream cheese, one-quarter of a pound of chopped figs, one-quarter of a pound of chopped walnuts, roll into balls and serve on lettuce leaves. Cheese Balls, No. 2 Mix one cake Neufchatel cheese, a piece of butter the size of the cheese, one tablespoon of cream, one-quarter teaspoon of salt and six dashes of Tabasco Sauce and form one large ball or several small ones and roll in chopped pecan nuts.”
Jewish Cook Book, Florence Kreisler Greenbaum [Bloch Publishing:New York] 1918 (p. 202)

“Cheese balls are a delightful appetizer with most drinks. Mix the ingredients and make the balls with a pair of butter paddles which have been soaking in ice water for several hours before you use them. After balls are made and garnished, give them an hour or two to harden in the refrigerator. Serve them on a bed of parsley or lettuce leaves and refill the plates often, not only from popular demand, but to keep the balls cold and firm as long as possible….Roquefort Cheese Balls. Mix together equal quanties of Roquefort cheese and butter; I should say four ounces of each would be a satisfactory amount. Add to this one-half teaspoonful of dry mustard and blend it well. Form into balss the size of a marble and roll them in a mixture of finely chopped parsley and chives. I suggest a mixture of two parts chives to one part parsley.”
Hors D’Oeuvre and Canapes, James Beard [M. Barrows and Company:New York] 1940 (p. 42-44)
[NOTE: This book also offers recipes for Chive Balls, Olive Cheese Balls, Curried Cheese Balls, Swiss Cheese Balls and Mexican Cheese Balls.]

“Cheddar-Cheese Balls

Mrs. Rockwell showed us the cheese balls chiling in the refrigerator for last-minute baking. The recipe calls for one-eighth pound of butter or margarine brought to room temperature, blended with a six-ounce crock of neutral sharp Cheddar spread, or you could use the bacon-Cheddar spread which is around in the markets. Into the cheeese add butter, work in three-fourths cup of all-purpose flour, form the mixture into balls to refrigerate several hours. Just before serving, into a hot oven for 10 minutes’ baking. Serve piping hot. Crusty on the outside, melting soft within.”
—“Come Over for Bridge,” Clementine Paddleford, Los Angeles Times, May 14, 1950 (p. C35)

“Cheese Puff Balls

Fat for deep frying
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
2 cusp grated sharp Cheddar cheese
2 eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard
Salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground
pepper (preferably white)
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Fine, dry bread crumbs.
1. Heat the fat to 365 degrees.
2. Combine the crumbs, cheese, egg yolks and seasonings to taste. Gently fold in stiffly beaten egg whites.
3. Form the mixture into small balls and roll thoroughly in dry bread crumbs.
4. Place, about five at a time, in a wire basket and cook in the hot fat until a deep golden brown, about two minutes. Serve immediately. Yield: About twenty balls.”
—“Food News: Cheese That Whets the Appetite, Nan Ickeringill, New York Times, January 31, 1962 (p. 34)

“Party Cheese Ball

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
2 tablespoons almond flavored liqueur
1/4 teaspoon ginger
Dash of salt
1 cup granola cereal, coarsley crushed
Beat together cream cheese, Swiss cheese, liqueur, ginger and salt, mixing until well blended. Chill until firm. Shape to form ball. Chill. Just before serving roll ball in cereal, coating well. Serve with unsalted crackers or fresh fruit slices. Makes 12 to 16 servings.”
—“A Buffet Appetizer: Having a Ball, Cheesewise,” Los Angeles Times, December 4, 1980 (p. L36) [NOTE: this article also offers recipes for Giant Cheese Ball, Party Mold, Red Devil Balls, Claro’s Cheddar Cheese Ball, Claro’s Blue Cheese Ball, Pecan Cheese Balls, & Crunchy Cheese Ball.]

What sets fruit cakes apart from their confectionery cousins is being prepared long before they are meant to be enjoyed. Historically, alcohol provided both flavor and natural preservative. Today, that ingredient is no longer necessary and often omitted.

If you are looking for a particular fruit cake recipe (from a specific book, magazine, place or period) let us know. Americans celebrated space missions by making Astronaut fruitcake. Happy to help you track it down! NOTE: Commerical cake recipes are not generally available.

“Fruit cake…a British specialty…The fruit cake as known today cannot date back much beyond the Middle Ages. It was only in the 13th century that dried fruits began to arrive in Britain, from Portugal and the east Mediterranean. Lightly fruited breads were probably more common than anything resembling the modern fruit cake during the Middle Ages. Early versions of the rich fruit cake, such as Scottish Black Bun dating from the Middle Ages, were luxuries for special occasions. Fruit cakes have been used for celebrations since at least the early 18th century when bride cakes and plumb cakes, descended from enriched bread recipes, became cookery standards. The relationship between fruit breads and fruit cakes is obvious in early recipes, such as those given by Eliza Smith [1753] which include yeast…

Making a rich fruit cake in the 18th century was a major undertaking. The ingredients had to be carefully prepared. Fruit was washed, dried, and stoned [taking the pits out] if necessary; sugar, cut from loaves, had to be pounded and sieved; butter washed in water and rinsed in rosewater. Eggs were beaten for a long time, half an hour being commonly directed. Yeast, or barm from fermenting beer, had to be coaxed to life. Finally, the cook had to cope with the temperamental wood-fired baking ovens of that time. No wonder these cakes acquired such mystique…”
Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 321-322)

This is what the food historians have to say:

“Mincemeat. The modern distinction between mince, minced meat and mincemeat, dried fruit mixed with spices, suet, and often some sort of alcohol arose only gradually. Mincemeat originally meant simply minced meat…and we do not have any unequivocable evidence of its being used in its current sense until the mid-nineteenth century. But in the Middle Ages and into Renaissance times and beyond it was commonplace to spice up or eke out meat with dried fruit, and it seems likely that the earliest mincepies contained a generous measure of such raisins, currants, etc. The reduction in meat content was a slow but steady process (still not complete, of course, for the inculsion of beef suet is a remnant of it). The growing need to draw a lexical distinction between the plain minced meat and mincemeat was signalled around 1850 by the introduction of the term mince for the former.”
An A-Z of Food and Drink, John Ayto [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 2002 (p. 214)

“Mince pie in Britain, is a miniature round pie, filled with mincemeat: typically a mixture of dried fruits, chopped nuts and apples, suet, spices, and lemon juice, vinegar, or brandy. Although the filling is called mincemeat, it rarely contains meat nowadays. In North America the pie may be larger, to serve several people. The large size is an innovation, for the original forms were almost always small. The earliest type was a small medieval pastry called a chewette, which contained chopped meat of liver, or fish on fast days, mixed with chopped hard-boiled egg and ginger. This might be baked or fried. It became usual to enrich the filling with dried fruit and other sweet ingredients. Already by the 16th century minced or shred pies, as they were then known, had become a Christmas specialty, which they still are. The beef was sometimes partly or wholly replaced by suet from the mid-17th century onwards, and meat had effectively disappeared from mincemeat’ on both sides of the Atlantic in the 19th century.”
Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 507)
[NOTE: here is a recipe for medieval chawettys (chewettes)]

“Mincemeat. Also Mince. A mixture of chopped fruits, spices, suet, and, sometimes meat that is usually baked in a pie crust. The word comes from mincem to chop finely, whose own origins are in the Latin minuere, “to diminish,” and once mincemeat referred specifically to a meat that had been minced up, a meaning it has had since the sixteenth century. By the nineteenth century, however, the word referred to a pie of fruit, spices, and suet, only occasionally containing any meat at all. In Colonial America these pies were made in the fall and sometimes frozen throughout winter.”
The Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, John F. Mariani [Lebhar-Friedman:New York] 1999 (p. 206)

Culinary evidence supports this information. Compare these recipes:

“To make Mince-Pies the best Way

Take three Pounds of Suet shread very fine, and chopped as small as possible, two Pounds of Raisins stoned, and chopped as fine as possible, two Pounds of Currans, nicely picked, washed, rubbed, and dried at the Fire, half a hundred of fine Pippins, pared, cored, and chopped small, half a Pound of fine Sugar pounded fine, a quarter of an Ounce of Mace, a quarter of an Ounce of Cloves, a Pint of Brandy, and half a pint of Sack; put it down close in a Stone-pot, and it will keep good four Months. When you make your Pies, take a little Dish, something bigger than a Soop-plate, lay a very thin Crust all over it, lay a thin Layer of Meat, and then a thin Layer of Cittron cut very thin, then a Layer of Mince meat, and a thin Layer of Orange-peel cut think over that a little Meat; squeeze half the Juice of a fine Sevile Orange, or Lemon, and pour in three Spoonfuls of Red Wine; lay on your Crust, and bake it nicely. These Pies eat finely cold. If you make them in little Patties, mix your Meat and Sweet-meats accordingly: if you chuse Meat in your Pies, parboil a Neat’s Tongue, peel it, and chop the Meat as finely as possible, and mix with the rest; or two Pounds of the Inside of a Surloin or Beef Boiled.”
The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, Hannah Glasse, facsimile 1747 edition [Prospect Books:Devon] 1995 (p. 74)
[NOTE: Pippins are apples, Sack is an alcoholic drink, Neat is a type of ox.]

“Minced Pie of Beef.

Four pound boil’d beef, chpped fine and salted; six pound of raw apple chopped, also, one pound beef suet, one quart of wine or rich sweet cyder, mace and cinnamon, of each one ounce, two pounds sugar, a nutmeg, two pounds raisins, bake in paste No. 3, three fourths of an hour.”
American Cookery, Amelia Simmons, facsimile 2nd edition 1796, introduced by Karen Hess [Applewood Books:Bedford MA] 1996 (p. 26)

“Mince Pies.

Boil a tender, nice piece of beef–any piece that is clear from sinews and gristle; boil it till it is perfectly tender. When it is cold, chop it very fine, and be very careful to get out every particle of bone and gristle. The sweeter and better to boil half an hour or more in this. Pare, core, and chop the apples fine. If you use raisins, stone them. If you use currants, wash and dry them at the fire. Two pounds of beef, after it is chopped; three quarters of a pound of suet; one pound and a quarter of sugar; three pounds of apples; two pounds of currants, or raisins. Put in a gill of brandy; lemon-brandy is better, if you have any prepared. Make it quite moist with new cider. I should not think a quart would be too much; the more moist the better, if it does not spill out into the oven. A very little pepper. If you use corn meat, or tongue, for pies, it should be well soaked, and boiled very tender. If you use fresh beef, salt is necessary in the seasoning. One ounce of cinnamon, one ounce of cloves. Two nutmegs add to the pleasantness of the flavor; and a bit of sweet butter put upon the top of each pie, makes them rich; but these are not necessary. Bake three quarters of an hour. If your apples are rather sweet, grate in a whole lemon.”
The American Frugal Housewife, Mrs. Child, facsimile 12th edition 1833 [Applewood Books:Boston] (p. 66) [NOTES: (1) This dish is the first recipe under the heading “Common Pies.” (2) Modernized recipe (oven and hearth instructions) is in the Old Sturbridge Village Cookbook, Caroline Sloat [Globe Pequot Press:Old Saybrook CT] 2nd edition 1995 (p. 156-157). Happy to send if you want! ]

“Mincemeat, Old fashioned.

–Take a pound of beef, a pound of apples, two pounds of suet, two pounds of sugar, two pounds of currants, one pound of candied lemon or orange peel, a quarter of a pound of citron, and an ounce of fine spices; mix all these together, with half an ounce of salt, and the rinds of six lemons shred fine. See that the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated, and add brandy or wine according to taste.” (p. 424)

“Mincemeat Royal.
–To an ounce of clarified butter add the yolks of four eggs, and beat in two table-spoonfuls of pounded sugar, with the grated rind and strained juice of a large lemon. Mix these ingredients with half a large lemon. Mix these ingredients with half a pound of rich mincemeat, without beef, and nearly fill the patty-pans with the mixture. Put them into a moderately quick oven to set. Ice them with the whites of the eggs, previously beaten to snow, with a quarter of a pound of pounded loaf sugar, and place them in the oven again until they are of a nice rich brown.” (p. 424)

“Mincemeat and Mince Pies.
–Take four pounds of raisins stoned, and four pounds of currants, washed lean, four pounds of apples, six pounds of suet, and half a fresh ox-tongue boiled, half a pound of candied orange-peel, ditto lemon, and a quarter of a pound of citron, all chopped; the juice of three oranges and three lemons, with the peel of two grated; half a pound of moist sugar, two glasses of brandy, two of sherry, one nutmeg grated, a spoonful of pounded cinnamon, and half an ounce of salt. Mix all these well together, put the whole into jars, and keep them tied over the bladder. A little of this mixture baked in tart-pans with puff-paste forms mince pies.

Or peel, core, and chop finely a pound of sound russet apples, wash and pick a pound of raisins, and let both these be chopped small. Then take away the skin and gristle from a pound of roast beef, and carefully pick a pound of beef-suet; chop these well together. Cut into small pieces three quarters of a pound of mixed candied orange, citron, and lemon-peel; let all these be well stirred together in a large pan. Beat or grind into powder a nutmeg, half an ounce of ginger, and a quarter of an ounce of cloves, the same of allspice and coriander-seeds; add half an ounce of salt, and put these into the pan, mixing them thoroughly. Grate the rinds of three lemons, and squeeze the juice over half a pound of fine Lisbon sugar, mixed with the lemon-peel; pour over this two gills of brandy and half a pint of sherry. Let these ingredients be well stirred, then cover the pan with a slate; and when about to use the mincemeat take it from the bottom of the pan.

Or, to make mince pies without meat, carefully prepare, as before directed, a pound an a half of fresh beef-suet, and chop it as small as possible; stone and chop a pound and a half of Smyrna raisins; well wash and dry on a coarse with two pounds of currants; peel, core, and cut small three pounds of russet apples; add a quarter of an ounce of mixed cinnamon and mace in powder, four cloves powdered, a pound an a half of powdered sugar, a tea-spoonful of salt, the juice of a lemon and its peel finely grated, and a table-spoonful of mixed candied fruit cut very small. Let all the above be well mixed together, and remain in the pan a few days. When you are about to make mince pies, throw a gill of brandy and the same of port wine into the pan, and stir together the mince. Line the required number of patty-pans with properly-made paste; fill from the bottom of the pan; cover, and bake quickly.” (p. 423-4)
Cassell’s Dictionary of Cookery [Cassell, Petter, Galpin:London] 1875? (p. 423-425)

“Mince Pie.

One of three kinds of mincemeat may be used for mince pie–mincemeat containing meat, in which case thae pie must act as a part of the muscle-making protien of the meat, mincemeat made without meat but containing considerable suet, in which case it should act as one of the fats; or green tomato mincemeat, in which case the pie acts as a sweet and also a bulky food. To put mince pie together, line a plate with pie crust, fill with the mincemeat, which should be cold, and top with a crust or criss-cross strips. If desired, cheese pastry may be used for this purpose. Bake as directed. Various commerical mincemeats make excellent pies. In most cases, they may be extended and bettered by the addition of one-third their bulk of chopped tart apples. Both the dried and canned mincemeat my be used, care being taken to avoid any that contains benzoate of soda.”
Ida Bailey Allen’s New Modern Cook Book, Ida Bailey Allen [Garden City Publishing Co:New York] 1924, 1939 (p. 648)
[NOTE: This book offers recipes for Green Tomato Mincemeat (no meat or suet), Mincemeat (with meat)and Uncooked Engish Mincemeat (with suet). Happy to send if you want to compare/contrast.]

“Mincemeat I
(Made of Meat)
1 lb chuck beef, cut up
2 lbs. pared, cored, tart apples
2 2/3 c. seeded raisins
2 1/2 c. currants
1/4 lb. citron
1/4 lb. ground suet
2 teasp. salt
1 tablesp. nutmeg
2 c. granulated sugar
1 c. strong coffee beverage or cider
1 tablesp. powdered cloves
1 tablesp. cinnamon
1 c. meat liquor
Cook meat in boiling water to cover, in a covered kettle, until tender; cool in the meat liquor. Then put meat through a food chopper, reserving 1 c. of the liquor. Put apples, raisins, currants, and citron thorugh the food chopper. Add ground meat, ground suet, and remaining ingredients. Simmer, uncovered, slowly for about 1 hour, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Pour at once to overflowing into clean to jars. Adjust covers as directed by manufacturer. Set on wire rack in deep covered kettle with boiling water to cover tops of jars at least 1″. Process 30 min., counting time from moment active boiling resumes. Remove and immediately adjust seal accoring to manufacturers directions. Makes aobut 5 pts. NOTE: Many of the packaged mincemeats on the market are excellent.”

Mincemeat II (Made of Green Tomatoes)
3 qts. chopped unpeeled green tomatoes (6 lbs.)
2 qts. chopped, pared, apples
1 lb. seeded raisins
4 tablesp. grated lemon rind
5 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
2 c. cider vinegar
2 c. cold water
1 tablesp. cinnamon
1/4 teasp. ground allspice
1/4 teasp. powdered cloves
Combine all ingredients in a large kettle. Simmer, uncovered, about 2 1/2 hours, or until very thick, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Pour at once to overflowing into clean hot jars. Adjust covers and process as in Mincemeat I…Makes 5-6 pts.”
Good Housekeeping Coook Book, completely revised 7th edition [Farrar & Rinehart:New York] 1944 (782-783)

Homemade Mincemeat Pie

Oven 400 degrees F.
Simmer 1 pound beef neck, covered, in water to cover till tender, about 3 hours. Cool and drain; put meat through coarse blade of food chopper with 1/2 pound suet and 2 pounds tart red apples, which have been pared, cored, and cubed. In large kettle, blend 2 1/2 cups sugar, 2 1/2 cups dried currants, 4 1/2 cups raisins, 1/2 cup chopped mixed candied fruits and peels, 1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange peels, 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1 cup orange juice, 2 1/2 cups water, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon ground mace. Cover; simmer 1 hour. makes 12 cups of mincemeat filling. Use 2 cups for 8-inch pie, 3 cups for 9-inch pie. Freeze remaining mincemeat in pie-sized portions. Fill pastry-lined pie plate; adjust top crust; cut slits on top. Seal. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 35 to 40 minutes.”
Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, Better Homes and Gardens:Des Moines IA] 1976 (p. 272)

“A Yorkshire Christmas-Pye.

First make a good Standing Crust, let the Wall and Bottom be very thick, bone a Turkey, a Goose, a Fowl, a Partridge, and a Pigeon, season them all very well, take half an Ounce of Mace, half an Ounce of Nutmegs, a quarter of an Ounce of Cloves, half and Ounce of black Pepper, all beat fine together, two large Spoonfuls of Salt, mix them together. Open the Fowls, then then Goose, and then the Turkey, which must be large; season them all well first, and lay them in the Crust, so as it will look only like a whole Turkey; then have a hare ready cased, and wiped with a clean Cloth. Cut it to Pieces, that is jointed; season it, and lay it as close as you can on one Side; on the other Side Woodcock, more Game, and what Sort of wild Fowl you can get. Season them well, and lay them close; put at least four Pounds of Butter into the Pye, then lay on your Lid, which must be very a very thick one, and let it be well baked. It must have a very hot Oven, and will take at least four Hours. This Pye will take a Bushel of Flour; in this Chapter you will see how to make it. These Pies are ofent sent to London in a Box as Presents; therefore the Walls must be will built.”
The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, Hannah Glasse c. 1747, facisimile first edition followed by additional recipes from the fifth edition [Prospect Books:Devon] 1995 (p. 73)

“A Standing Crust for Great Pies.
To a Peck of Flour the Yolk of three Eggs, then boil some Water, and put in half a Pound of try’d Suet, and a pound and half of Butter. Skim off the Butter and Suet, and as much of the Liquor as will bake it a light good Crust; work it up well, and roll it out.”
—ibid (p. 75)

“A Yorkshire Goose Pie

Take a large fat goose, split it down the back and take all the bones out. Bone a turkey and two ducks the same way, season them very well with pepper and salt, with six woodcocks. lay the goose down on a clean dish, with the skin side down, and lay the turkey into the goose with the skin down. Have ready a large hare cleaned well, cut in pieces, and stewed in the oven with a pound of butter, a qwuasrter of an ounce of mace beat fine, the same of white pepper and salt to your taste, till the meat will leave the bones. Scum the butter off the gravy, pick the meat clean off and beat it in a marble mortar very fine with the butter you took off, and lay it in the turkey. Take twenty-four pounds of the finest flour, six pounds of butter, half a bound of fresh rendered suet, make the paste pretty stiff and raise the pie oval. Roll out a lump of paste and cut it in vine leaves, or what form you please, rub the pie with the yolks of eggs and put on your ornaments on the walls. Then turn the hare, turkey, goose upside down and lay them in your pie, with the ducks at each end and the woodcocks on the sides, make your lid pretty thick and put it on. You may lay flowers or the shape of the fowls in paste on the lid, and make a hole in the middle of your lid. The walls of the pie are to be one inch and a half higher than the lid. Then rub it all over with the yolks of eggs, and bind it round with three-fold paper, and lay the same over the top. It will take four hours baking in a brown bread oven. When it comes out melt two pounds of butter in the gravy that comes from the hare and pour it hot in the pie through a tun-dish, close it up well, and let it be eight or ten days before you cut it. If you send it any distance make up the hole in the middle with cold butter to prevent air from getting in.”
Experienced English Housekeeper, Elizabeth Raffald, 1769 facsimile reprint with introduction by Roy Shipperbottom [Southover Press:East Sussex] 1997 (p. 73)

[1847] “A Christmas Pie.
make the walls of thick standing crust, to any size you lie, and ornamented as fancy directs. Lay at the bottom of the pie a beef steak. Bone a turkey, goose, fowl, duck, partridge, and place one over the other, so that, when cut, the white and brown meat may appear alternately. Put a large tongue by its side, and fill the vacancies with forcemeat balls and hard eggs, and add savory jelly. This last is better for being kept in a mould, and only taken out as required. Bacon, chopped or beat up with the forecemeat, is preferable to suet, as it is nicer when cold, and keeps better.”
The Carolina Housewife, Sarah Rutledge, facsimile 1847 editio [University of South Carolina Press:Columbia] 1979 (p. 85)

“Yorkshire Pie.

A True Yorkshire pie, such as constitutes a standing dish during the Christmas festivities at the hospitable board of a Yorkshire squire, is simply a raised pie filled with poultry and game of different kinds, put one inside the other and side by side. These pies are sometimes made of a large size; and it is recorded that one of them, which was sent from Sheffield in 1832 as a present to the then Lord Chancellor Brougham, broke down on account of its weight. Yorkshire pies require both skill and patience for their manufacture. They are not common, and are becoming less and less so; nevertheless, when successfully made they form a most excellent dish, and one sure to be hightly appreciated. Turkey, pheasants, ducks, fowls, grouse, snipes, and tongue; any or all of these may enter into their composition. Whatever birds are used should be boned and partially stewed before being put into the pie: the smallest of them should be filled with good, highly-seasoned veal forcemeat; a layer of forcemeat should be placed at the botton of the pie, and all the vacant places filled with the same. A recipe here given for making a moderate-sized pie. Bone a fowl and a goose; fill the fowl with good veal forcemeat, truss it, and sew it up. Truss the goose, and put the two side by side in a stewpan which will just hold them. Pour over them as much stock as will cover them, and let them simmer the fowl inside the goose, truss the latter, and sew it up. Line a pie-mould with some pastry, such as is used for making raised pies, rolled out to a good thickness. Cover the bottom with a layer of forcemeat, lay the goose upon it, pour a little of the liquor in which it was stewed over it, and place round it slices of pigeons, boned hare, tongue, &c. Fill the vacant places with forcemeat, and when the meat is closely packed in the crust put over it a layer of clarified butter. Place the pastry-cover on the top, brush over with egg, ornament it, bind several folds of buttered paper round it, and bake in a well-heated oven. Make a little strong jelly by boiling the bones and trimming with seasoning and spices, and pour this into the pie after it is baked. When the pie is to be served, place it on a dish covered with a napkin, remove the cover whole, and cut the meat in thin slices. The pastry of a pie like this is not made to be eaten but is simply intended as a case in which to preserve and serve the meat. When a skewer will pierce easily to the bottom of the pie in the centre it is done enough. Time to bake the pie, four hours or more.”
Cassell’s Dictionary of Cookery with Numerous Illustrations, [Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co.:London] 1875 (p. 1156)

How old is the tradition?
“Christmas pudding, the rich culimation of a long process of development of ‘plum puddings’ which can be traced back to the early 15th century. The first types were not specifically associated with Christmas. Like early mince pies, they contained meat, of which a token remains in the use of suet. The original form, plum pottage, were made from chopped beef or mutton, onions and perhaps other root vegetables, and dried fruit. As the name suggests, it was a fairly liquid preparation: this was before the invention of the pudding cloth made large puddings feasible. As was usual with such dishes, it was served at the beginning of the meal. When new kinds of dried fruit became available in Britain, first raisins, then prunes in the 16th century, they were added. The name ‘plum’ refers to a prune; but it soon came to mean any dried fruit. In the 16th century variants were made with white meat…and gradually the meat came to be omitted, to be replaced by suet. The root vegetables disappeared, although even now Christmas pudding often still includes a token carrot…By the 1670s, it was particularly associated with Christmas and called ‘Christmas pottage’. The old plum pottage continued to be made into the 18th century, and both versions were still served as a filing first course rather than as a dessert…What currently counts as the traditional Christmas pudding recipe has been more or less established since the 19th century.”
Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 2000 (p. 184-5)

“…the name Christmas pudding appears to be a comparatively recent coinage, first recorded in Anthony Trollope’s Doctore Thorne (1858). The association of dishes containing mixed dried fruit and spices…with Christmas is a longstanding one, though. Most of them originally contained dried plums, or prunes, but long after these had been replaced by raisins the term plum lingrered on… Nowadays served only at Christmas…this was formerly a common year-round pudding.”
An A-Z of Food & Drink, John Ayto [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 2002 (p. 76)

“The plum pudding’s association with Christmas takes us back to medieval England and the Roman Catholic Chruch’s decree that the ‘pudding should be made on the twenty-fifth Sunday after Trinity, that it be prepared with thirteen ingredients to represent Christ and the twelve apostles, and that that every family member stir it in turn from east to west to honor the Magi and their supposed journey in that direction.’… Banned by the Puritans in the 1660s for its rich ingredients, the pudding and its customs came back into popularity during the reign of George I. Known sometimes as the Pudding King, George I requested that plum pudding be served as part of his royal feast when he celebrated his first Christmas in England after arriving from Hanover to take the throne in 1714. By 1740, a recipe for ‘plum porridge’ appeared in Christmas Entertainments. In the Victorian era, Christmas annuals, magazines, and cookbooks celebrated the sanctity of family as much as the sanctity of Jesus’ birth, and the tradition of all family members stirring the pudding was often referenced…Poorer families made the riches version of plum pudding that they could afford…Even workhouse inmates anticipated a plum pudding on Christmas Day.”
Food and Cooking in Victorian England: A History, Andrea Broomfield [Praeger:Westport CT] 2007 (p. 150-151)

What is the classic recipe?
There are as many recipes for Christmas pudding as there are cooks. These notes, circa 1875, sum it up best:

“Sugarplums were an early form of boiled sweet. Not acutally made from plums…they were nevertheless roughly the size and shape of plums, and often had little wire stalks’ for suspending them from. They came in an assortment of colours and flavours, and frequently, like comfits, had an aniseed, caraway seed, etc. at their centre. The term was in vogue from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries, but is now remembered largely thanks to the Sugarplum Fairy, a character in Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker ballet (1892.)”
An A-Z of Food & Drink, John Ayto [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 2002 (p. 329)


“At Christmas it was frequently the custom for each [peasant] tenant to give to the lord a hen (partly as payment for being allowed to keep poultry), or sometimes grain which was brewed into ale…At Christmas also the lord was expected to give his tenants a meal, for example, bread, cheese, pottage and two dishes of meat. The tenant might be directed to bring his own plate, mug and napkin if he wished there to be a cloth on the table, and a faggot of brushwood to cook his food, unless he wished to have it raw. Sometimes the custom said explicitly that the lord had to give a Christmas meal because the tenant had given him the food. In at least one instance the value of the food to be provided by the lord was to be the same value as that given by the tenant. The role of the lord in this case appears to have been merely to organize the village Christmas dinner. The value of the dinner was not always so finely balanced as this however: sometimes the lord gained, sometimes the tenant. These customs were maintained for several centuries, lasting in some cases after the end of the manorial system when compulsory work had been commuted into the paying of rent.”
Food and Feast in Medieval England, P.W. Hammond [Wren’s Park:Gloucestershire] 1993 (p. 36)

“Almonds and raisins were also bought at Christmas, perhaps for a Christmas pudding. Apart from this there is no sign that they [the gentry] celebrated Christmas by eating anything very different from their normal diet. This is presumably not due to their religious status, since this did not inhibit other ecclesiastical establishments. For example, in 1289 Richard de Swinfield, the Bishop of Hereford, spent Christmas at his manor of Prestbury, near Gloucester. The day before Christmas was kept as a fast, but a considerable amount of fish, herrings, conger eels and codlings were eaten, together with a salmon costing 5s. 8d. (28p, quite a high price). A dozen cups, 300 dishes, 150 large plates and 200 small plates were obtained for the occasion. There were a number of guests–at least fifteen judging by the number of extra horses in the stable for the next two days. On the following day (Christmas Day) even more food was consumed. Over three days they ate no less than 1 boar, 2 complete carcasses and 3 quarters of beef, 2 calves, 4 does, 4 pigs, about 60 fowls (hens or possibly capons), 8 partridges and 2 geese, as well as bread and cheese. The amount of ale served was not recorded, but ten sextaries (about 40 gallons) of red wine and one of white were consumed. This is a fairly modest amount for about 70 people. On such occasions the wine was sometimes only served to the bishop and the most important guests. The amount of food was also considerable and (as the editor of the account suggests), probably a large amount was give to the poor, or perhaps to the manor tenants. Spices, such as ginger, cloves and cinnamon, saffron and mustard were also purchased. They did not need to buy very much pepper since 1/2 lb of pepper cloves formed part of their original endowment. Spices always formed part of the diet of the gentry and magnate households, presumably because they liked the flavour these gave to food.”
ibid (p. 65)

“The Christmas holiday lasted only a few half-days for most people, because the usual daily farm and other labourers’ work and household chores went on, and not all employers gave much time off. But the courtly folk had ample leisure to display their new headgear at one party after another over nearly a fortnight of intermittent feasting, and to enjoy the colourful, scented delights of top-class cuisine; even if their lowly rank entitled the on full-scale royal occasions to only two or three of the courses, and to a limited choice of dishes (squires, pages, local burgesses and so on were allowed only one course.) There were sometimes entertainments to watch while waiting, and the entremets or subtleties to admire, especially if their labels were read aloud. The boar’s head brought in by carol singers at the Twelfth Night feast was a popular etremet, and so was the peacock, proudly displayed regnant and bedecked on its platters…Entertainment was the main part of any feast, especially a great one; and at the end, when the alms baskets were carried out to the poor and the last Tweflth Night toast was drunk, it was to be hoped that one and all couls day, ‘That wqas a good feast. The year ahead will go well!”
The Medieval Cookbook, Maggie Black [Thames and Hudson:London] 1992 (p. 112)
[NOTE: This book offers the following modernized recipes in for Christmas: Broiled Venison, Pepper Sauce for Veal or Venison, Pork Roast with Spiced Wine, A Grete Pye (savory beef, eggs, dates etc.), Piment (alcoholic beverage, Pine Nut Candy, and Lombard Slices (hard-cooked eggs, honey & spices).

“Arthurian Christmas feasts swell the pages of medieval literature. One medieval romance begins in the midst of Christmas revelry at Camelot, where King Arthur, his Knights of the Round Table and their ladies are celebrating for 15 days, “with all the food and mirth that men knew how to devise.” Merriment notwithstanding, the medieval feast was often an occasion for great pomp and ceremony. At 10 A.M. on Christmas Day, to the sound of clarion trumpets, the marshal would usher guests into the castle’s great hall, seating them at long tables according to the established order of precedence. A bowl of spiced, scented water was circulated for the hand-washing ceremony, and a Latin grace chanted in unison. Then the trumpets blared again, this time to announce the arrival of servers as they entered the hall balancing steaming platters of spit-roasted haunches, gilded fowl and enourmous crusty pies. Medieval feasts were traditionally served in three courses. Each course included a soup, followed by a wide range of baked, roasted and boiled dishes, and finally an elaborate sotelty, a lifelike (often edible) scene sculpted in colored marzipan or dough. One 15th-century English menu suggests bringing each of the three courses to a close with a sotelty depicting a successive phase of the Christmas story…The bounty of medieval feasts is legendary. One early historian noted that in 1398, King Richard II “kept his Christmas at Liechfield, where he spent [used] in the Christmas time 200 tunns of wine, and 2000 oxen with their appurtenances.”
Christmas Feasts from History, Lorna J. Sass [Irena Chalmers Cookbooks:New York] 1981 (p. 23-4)
[NOTE: This book contains this suggested menu (& modernized recipes): Oysters in Grauey, Brede, Chawettys, Pigge Ffarced and/or Goose in Sawse Madame, Caboches in Potage, Crustade Lombard, Hippocras.]

Boar’s Head
“Christmas, then as now, had a variety of dishes associated with it. The first was the boar’s head, which formed the centrepiece of the Christmas Day meal. It was garnished with rosemary and bay and evidently was presented to the diners with some style, as told by the many boar’s head carols which still exist…Thomas Tusser in Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry suggests a number of dishes, that, lower down society, the housewife should provide for her guests at Christmas. He mentions mutton, pork, veal souse (pickled pig’s feet and ears), brawn, cheese and apples, although none of these items was connected especially with Christmas; they were all associated with feasting generally. He also talks of serving turkey, but only as a part of a list of other luxurious items that the housewife should provide. It does not seem to be the centrepiece in the way that the boar’s head was in grander circles.”
Food and Feast in Tudor England, Alison Sim [Sutton Publishing:Phoenix Mill] 1997 (p. 113-115) [NOTE: Another period holiday recipe featuring boar’s head was brawn.]


“The distinction between normal days and feast day can be noted in every kitchen…feast days were observed in different ways and with varying degrees of frequency. For certain religions holidays, the menu was ritualized. Lasagne at Christmas…when Messire Sozzo Bandinelli assembed a brilliant court at Siena to celebrate his son Francesco’s accession to knighthood on Christmas Day 1326, the festivities were to last the whole preceding week, with tournaments, exchanges of gifts, and banquets. The record contains the menus of three meat banquets (…with 600 on Christmas Day), and one for a day of abstinence (120 guests on Wednesday, Christmas Eve). Days of penitence did not require forswearing banquets; it was enough to replace meat with fish. Morever, as in othe literary texts, the chronicler mentions only the dishes reflecting festivity, abundance, and knightly courtesy–in a word, the meat and fish dishes–from among all the foods appearing on the banquet tables. At Siena in that December of 1326, the number of courses, as they appear in the chronicler’s simplified version, varied from three to five (on the great day itself). At all the the meat banquets, boiled veal, roast capon, and game meats were served; for the Christmas feast the vast quantity and variety of game are described in detail. Each day’s menu is distinguished by a particular dish: ravioli and ambrogino di polli…for the Tuesday, blancmange for Christmas Day; pastelli on the Thursday. The banquets always ended with candied pears served with treggea (sugared almonds), and were always preceded and followed by confetti: sugarcoated whole spices. The meatless Christmas Eve menu was no less gala, with four courses. First, following the confetti, came marinated tench and plates of chickpeas to the table, then roast eels, and finally a compote with treggea, followed by the unvarying candied pears and confetti.”
The Medieval Kitchen: Recipes from France and Italy, Odile Redon et al [Univeristy of Chicago Press:Chicago] 1998 (p. 6-7)

“The greatest of the feasts celebrated was Christmas. This, of course, covered twelve days, but unlike the modern Christmas the celebrations did not begin until Christmas Day itself. Advent was mostly a time of fasting, and as Advent only ended after mass on Christmas Day, the festivities could not begin before then. The two most celebrated days of Christmas were New Year and the final day of celebration, Twelfth Night…There was…a definate purpose to the Tudor Christmas. At a time when society was very strictly organized, Christmas acted as a kind of pressure-release valve, a time when everyhthing was turned on its head. There were different days when certain sections of society were allowed an unusual degree of freedom. Children, for example, had their day on 6 December, St. Nicholas Day…Christmas, then as now, had a variety of dishes associated with it. The first was the boar’s head, which formed the centrepiece of the Christmas Day meal. It was garnished with rosemary and bay and evidently was presented to the diners with some style, as told by the many boar’s head caorls which still exist…Thomas Tusser in Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry suggests a number of dishes, that, lower down society, the housewife should provide for her guests at Christmas. He mentions mutton, pork, veal souse (pickled pig’s feet and ears), brawn, cheese and apples, although none of these items was connected especially with Christmas; they were all associated with feasting generally. He also talks of serving turkey, but only as a part of oa list of other luxurious items that the housewife should provide. It does not seem to be the centrepiece in the way that the boar’s head was in grander circles. One important item associated with Twelfth Night was the Twelfth cake. This was a fruitcake into which an object or objects might be baked, These might be a coin, or coins, or a dried bean and pea, The idea was that whoever found the item in their piece of cake became the King of the Bean or Queen of the Pea. They would then become host and hostess for the evening’s entertainments…Another tradition associated with Christmas was that of wassailing. This was the remains of old fertility rites, when a toast would be drunk to fruit trees in the hope of making them produce a good crop in the following year. Whatever its origins, it was certainly an opportunity for plenty of drinking…The wassail cup might be of cider, ale, or some spiced ale such as lambswool, a kind of spiced beer whcih was served warm. Wassailing was a part of Christmas for everyone, from the highest to the lowest.”
Food and Feast in Tudor England, Alison Sim [Sutton Publishing:Phoenix Mill] 1997 (p. 113-115)

“A Christmas-day dinner menu at Ingatestone included: “six boiled and 3 roast pieces of beef, a neck of mutton, a loin and breast of pork, a goose, 4 coneys [rabbits] and 8 warden pies [pear pies colored with saffrom].” For supper “5 joints of mutton, a neck of pork, 2 coneys, a woodcock and a venison pasty” were served. This was a modest menu…”
Dining with William Shakespeare, Madge Lorwin [Atheneum:New York] 1076 (p. 157)

Gervase Markham’s English Housewife, originally published in 1615 , contains extensive details on the “Ordering of great fasts and proportion of expense.” [191]. These passages are often quoted in late Elizabethan/17th century books when it comes to Christmas feasts. Too much to paraphrase, and not yet online. This book is readily available in paperback. Our copy is edited by Michael R. Best, Mcgill-Queen’s University Press ISBN 0773511032. Your librarian will be happy to help you obtain a copy or you can purchase online.

Old Time Mincemeat Pie Recipe


“An old-fashioned mincemeat pie filling made with meat and sour cherries.”

Original recipe yields 8 servings (1 9-inch pie)

Nutritional Information

1 Serving
Servings Per Recipe:
Amount Per Serving

  • * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  • ** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.
  • (-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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  • Prep

  • Cook

  • Ready In

  1. In a Dutch oven, combine beef and apple cider. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes, or until meat is tender. Remove meat and coarsely chop, then return it to the pot.
  2. Stir in chopped apples, sugar, currants, raisins, citrus peel, butter and cherry preserves. Add ginger, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Let simmer, uncovered, over low heat until mixture is very thick, about 90 minutes. Stir in cherries and remove from heat.
  3. Refrigerate tightly covered for at least a week before using.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Put filling in unbaked pie shell and place pastry on top. Crimp edges and poke several holes in top pastry. Brush top with cream and sprinkle with sugar.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until golden brown.
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  • My review

Donut French Toast | The Novice Chef

Yup, you read that right – Donut French Toast! And yes, it’s absolutely as glorious as it sounds. I promised myself I would only have a couple of slices, but ended up eating a couple more. Donuts griddled to perfection with cinnamon, powdered sugar and maple syrup? Oh happy day!

I made a quick run to the grocery store Saturday morning for some bacon and eggs for breakfast and everything else we needed for the week. I tried really heard and only got the things on my list…until I made it to the checkout line.

I fell hard for all the fresh donuts lined up ready to be taken home. They were fresh, warm and smelled so good! I quickly shoved a box into my shopping cart and ate one on the drive home. And then I shared another one with the girls when I made it home. You guys….I have zero self control.

The next morning I woke up and found the box of donuts on the counter. Stale. I almost made my favorite Donut Bread Pudding with Buttery Rum Sauce, but then Jorge gave me the idea to use them to make french toast. He said we always use stale bread to make french toast, why not use stale donuts? That man is brilliant.

I sliced them in half so they could soak up the custard mixture and started cooking. I then topped them with a little extra cinnamon, a dash of powdered sugar and a healthy dose of good maple syrup. We devoured them!

So the next time you find yourself with some stale donuts on hand, you have to try out this Donut French Toast! It’s definitely different than the Cuban Bread French Toast we usually make and I like switching it up. I hope you like them as much as we did!

Donut French Toast Recipe


  • 2/3 cup half-and-half
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 8 stale donuts, sliced in half
  • powdered sugar and maple syrup for serving


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Secret Recipe Club: Sugar Crusted Vanilla French Toast

Time flies when you are having fun. It also flies by when you are scrambling to finish out a school year amidst baseball season and various doctor appointments. I can’t believe it is time again already for another installment of the Secret Recipe Club!

This month I was given a fellow Ph=the ‘F’ sound food blogger in Wendy over at La Phemme Phoodie. Clearly, we have tasted in common.

It didn’t stop with the name though, and I have to admit I’m a bit jealous of Wendy’s gluten-free and healthy eating attitudes. I struggle to eat healthy and mainly try to see how much sugar I can survive on… plus some caffeine thrown in. My friends refer to it as my ‘self-medicating’. I’m ok with that.

I was still snagged on one recipe in particular on Wendy’s blog that was different than other similar recipes I have made. I think that my love of all things French Toast has been sufficiently documented here on the blog. That said, there is always room for one more.

What struck me as different about Wendy’s recipe for Bourbon Vanilla French Toast Casserole was the fact that the sugar is made into a caramel-y syrup and poured over the custard soaked bread just before baking. Again, clearly, we have plenty in common since sugar coating most anything I’m going to laughingly refer to as ‘nutrition’ is right up my alley!

I made a half batch with a very crusty baguette and wasn’t disappointed in the amount of crunchy, crusty, vanilla flavored french toast casserole I was treated too. It didn’t really need any further gilding of the lily when it was time to eat, so I just dug in as is, with a little bowl of berries on the side for an extra treat.

Sugar Crusted Vanilla French Toast
Adapted from La Phemme Phoodie

1 smallish baguette or crusty loaf of bread, cut into 1-inch slices (about 1 lb loaf)

3 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of sea salt

1/2 cup (1 stick or 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1 Day Ahead:
Butter a 9×9-inch pan on the bottom and sides. Place the bread slices, standing up, in the pan. Set aside while preparing the custard.

In a large measuring cup or pitcher, whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, vanilla, cinnamon and salt until well combined. Pour the mixture evenly over all the bread slices in the pan. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Next Morning:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the french toast casserole from the refrigerator and set it on a baking sheet.

In a large microwave safe bowl or heat proof large glass measuring cup, melt the butter in the microwave till just melted (about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes on high). Add the brown sugar and corn syrup, whisk well to combine. Microwave on high again in 30-second bursts (two to three times should be enough) till the sugar is melted and the mixture is bubbly and hot. Gently whisk in the vanilla extract. (Alternatively, you can do this process in a pan on your stovetop.)

Carefully and evenly pour the sugar mixture over the french toast casserole, covering each slice well. Place the casserole, on the baking sheet, into the oven and bake until puffy all across the pan like a good bread pudding, and is golden and baked through, about 40 to 45 minutes depending on how packed your pan was. The casserole will deflate as it cools. Serve warm with mixed berries.

Tagged as: casserole, french toast, sugar crust, vanilla

French Toast I Recipe

Original recipe yields 3 servings (6 slices french toast)

Nutritional Information

1 Serving
Servings Per Recipe:
Amount Per Serving

  • * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  • ** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.
  • (-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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  • Prep

  • Cook

  • Ready In

  1. Beat together egg, milk, salt, desired spices and vanilla.
  2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Dunk each slice of bread in egg mixture, soaking both sides. Place in pan, and cook on both sides until golden. Serve hot.


Read all reviews

  • My review

This is a great, simple recipe for french toast. If your using thicker bread or are soaking the bread for a while, I would suggest covering the griddle or pan with a lid. This will cook the insi…

Took way too long to cook. I had to add another egg to get a good consistency. Tasted bland.

Vegan Cookie Dough Oatmeal Breakfast Bars {Gluten Free}

These Vegan Cookie Dough Oatmeal Breakfast Bars are perfect for an healthy grab and go breakfast. Plus they taste like cookie dough! Packed with real food plant based protein, chocolate chips, and gluten free oats. Yes, it’s dessert for breakfast.

Hi there!

My name is Taylor and I blog over at foodfaithfitness.com!

I’m SUPER excited to be guest posting here on the FABULOUS “Cotter Crunch” while my BFF Lindsay is up to here eyeballs in moving boxes. I’ve moved about 29432 times in the past 3 years, so I know how NOT SO FUN moving is.

Which is why we are counteracting that NOTSOFUN-ness with a recipe that is jam-packed and totally LOADED with fun.

I mean. Cookie dough for breakfast? HOW CAN THAT BE NOT A GOOD TIME?

Exactly. It can’t.

True life confession time though: I really only made a recipe for cookie dough because I am not-at-all-secretly obsessed with it. I’ve shoved it into your hungry mouth’s in the form of a cookie dough ice cream recipe, vegan brownies stuffed with peanut butter cookie dough, cookie dough overnight oats and even a cookie dough almond butter recipe.

Something inside my soul tells me that I should call my blog “COOKIE DOUGH FOREVER AND EVER”

But I think that might be a just a LITTLE too limiting. I don’t think of any of your hungry bellies would continue rumbling if I served a steaming hot plate of cookie dough mango chicken with coconut cauliflower rice.

Uhhhhmm. NOPE.

Because I am “THAT GIRL” who gets totally addicted to foods and eats them every single day forever, I also obsess over oatmeal breakfast bars: pumpkin oatmeal breakfast bars in the slow cooker or cacao peanut oatmeal breakfast bars with banana, don’t care what kind. Just want to stuff them in my HANGRY morning-person mouth STAT.

You get it. I know this is your life too. I can feel it.

It was obviously only a matter of time before – BOOM – the 2 magical things that I <3 <3 <3 would be smushed together in what can only be called the most perfect of food marriages, and the ULTIMATE way to make yourself roll of out bed.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: will wake up for dessert.

X-CEPT “dessert” is actually secretly healthy, vegan-friendly, gluten free and boasting a HEAVY hit of real food goodness.

With a HUGE scoop of yumminess RIGHT ON TOP.

SRSLY. Breakfast Nirvana. It has arrived and it’s pulling up a seat at your table.

Whether you share your coffee is up to you.

I’m voting no on that because #SharingProblems and #CoffeeAddicted.

In other news, do you not love how chickpeas make the most gloriously creamy cookie dough without the need for flours, butters or generally any not-so-good-for-you ingredients? Plus, THE PROTEIN BOOST.

Whoever said you can’t grow big muscles and eat your cookie dough too had it SRSLY wrong.

But what is NOT wrong, is the choice to mow down on approximately 6 soft, chewy, cinnamony-sweet squares of breakfast B-L-I-S-S tomorrow morning.

Okay okay, I’ll get to the recipe. Ready to make some dessert for breakfast? Yessssss!

Vegan Cookie Dough Oatmeal Bars to the rescue!

Vegan Cookie Dough Oatmeal Breakfast Bars {Gluten Free}

Easy and Healthy Vegan Cookie Dough Oatmeal Breakfast Bars {Gluten Free}


For the base

For the cookie dough top


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and rub an 8×8 inch pan with coconut oil.
  2. In a large bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat together the banana, coconut sugar and agave and until well mixed.
  3. Add in the oats, powdered peanut butter, oat flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt and stir until well mixed. Spread the mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan and set aside.
  4. If you haven’t already, remove the skins from the chickpeas by gently rubbing them between your fingers and peeling off the papery thin skin that lifts up. Add the skinned chickpeas into a SMALL food processor (mine is 3 cups.)
  5. Add in all the remaining ingredients, up to the chocolate chips, and blend until smooth and creamy. You’ll need to stop and scrape down the sides every so often. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the chocolate chips.
  6. Gently spread the cookie dough evenly on top of the oatmeal base until it’s fully covered. Sprinkle with extra chocolate chips, if desired.
  7. Bake until the edges are lightly golden brown, begin to pull away from the sides and a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 17-18 minutes.
  8. Let cool COMPLETELY in the pan before slicing.
  9. Once cool, slice and DEVOUR

Recipe Notes

* Indicates Measurement is for chickpeas after removing the skin.

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know if you try this recipe! I’d love to see it and share it!” Tag me on IG @cottercrunch
or hashtag #cottecrunch

Nutrition Per Bar

So who’s all up for cookie dough for breakfast? YES!



Thank you Taylor for being a true support system for me. And sharing your amazingly delicious recipes! Friends, I hope you get a chance to check out Food Faith Fitness, Taylor is quite talented in the kitchen and with her photography! You will be hooked!

I’ll be back Monday. Well, hopefully. Haha! 1 more week of traveling, unpacking, and settling into Utah. We’re slow. Can you tell?



Banana Oatmeal Cookie Recipe

Original recipe yields 24 servings (4 dozen)

Nutritional Information

1 Serving
Servings Per Recipe:
Amount Per Serving

  • * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  • ** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.
  • (-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon.
  3. Cream together the shortening and sugar; beat until light and fluffy. Add egg, banana, oatmeal and nuts. Mix well.
  4. Add dry ingredients, mix well and drop by the teaspoon on ungreased cookie sheet.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) for 15 minutes or until edges turn lightly brown. Cool on wire rack. Store in a closed container.


Read all reviews

  • My review

I made these twice so far. The first time I omitted the nuts, added a bit more cinnamon, they turned out great, they stay soft forever. The second time I added dried cranberries and everyone at …

This recipe WOULD be a 5 star, however; DO NOT bake at 400F! Mine were burnt to a crisp and the oven was smoking after about 10 mins! I tried a second batch at 350F for about 13 mins.

Oatmeal-Based, Low-Fat, & Fat-Free Cookie Recipes


  • 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup nonfat milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup raisins


Preheat oven to 375 F. Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir in rolled oats. In a separate container, mix all other ingredients, and add this mixture to dry ingredients, mixing well. Drop teaspoon-sized balls of batter onto greased non-stick cookie sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes.


  • 2 bananas
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350 F. Mash bananas, combine with molasses and vanilla. Mix together dry ingredients, add banana mixture, stir in rolled oats. Form teaspoon-sized balls, place on greased (or sprayed) baking sheet. Bake 10-15 minutes.