A mince pie (or mincemeat pie) is a traditional festive British sweet pastry, usually consumed during the Christmas and New Year period. Mince pies normally have a pastry top, but versions may also be found without the top in which case they are known as a mince tart.
The name 'mincemeat' comes from the original recipe. Up to the Victorian era the mince(meat) pie would actually have been a spiced meat pie with some dried fruit. Today the only remnant of the original meat is the inclusion of suet. Typically fillings today consist entirely of fruit-based mincemeat containing dried fruit such as raisins, currants, glace cherries, apricot, candied peel; spices such as cinnamon or nutmeg; nuts such as walnuts or chopped almonds; suet; and some kind of alcohol, usually either brandy or rum. Mince pies are suitable for vegetarians only if the suet is replaced by vegetable fat.
By the 16th century 'mince' or shred pie was considered a Christmas speciality, but in the 17th century, Oliver Cromwell made the eating of mince pies on Christmas Day illegal. (This law was voted fourth "most ridiculous British law" in a 2007 poll.) In the mid-17th century the liver and chopped meat was replaced by suet, and meat products were no longer generally used in the 'mince' by the 19th century in both North America and Great Britain. Though traditional suet pies are still made, they are no longer the dominant form.
Folklore states that mince pies are a favourite food of Father Christmas, and that one or two should be left on a plate at the foot of the chimney (along with a small glass of brandy, sherry or milk, and a raw carrot for the reindeer) as a thank-you for stockings well-filled.
Mincemeat Slices, are pretty much the same, instead of a pastry top use a Victora Sponge topping. Bake in a large square tin and cut into slices or as individual pies bake in a bun tin.