Thanksgiving always brings back memories of the extended family crowded around the dining room table, sharing a feast of favorite dishes, while giving thanks to God for His bountiful provision.

Each family brought several potluck items.  Aunt Edith always came with creamed peas and onions, and pies (two separate dishes, not together!).  She would not give us her best recipes but promised to put them in her will. Whether through intent or forgetfulness, she did not include them.  So we carefully searched through her recipe drawer.  The prize was our family favorite mince meat pie that was served at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

There are some great parallels in the parables Jesus told, such as the shepherd leaving the 99 sheep to look for the lost one and the woman searching the house for her lost coin.  You would think that God and Jesus would be the center theme during these holidays but sadly that is not so.  Even this time of year, He may be hard to find among pilgrims and turkeys, Santas and sleighs, snowmen and candy canes.  But don’t give up.  God is still there if you just bother to look for Him.  We may be lost, but He isn’t.

Pastry for Pie Crust

2 cups flour

Salt  (her notes did not say how much)

2/3 cup shortening

¼ cup cold water

Mix flour and shortening to medium fine crumbs.  Add enough water to make a thickening.  Add to remainder of crumb mix. Let stand a while and then roll out.  Very flaky.

 Mince Meat

5 cups ground, cooked beef or venison (about 2 lbs)

1 qt ground suet (about 1 lb)

3 qts chopped, pared tart apples (about 12 medium)

1/3 cup finely chopped orange peel

1 ½ cups chopped orange pulp (about 2 large)

¼ cup lemon juice

3  11 oz packages currants

3 lbs seeded raisins (mixture light and dark)

1  8 oz package chopped candied citron

2 lb package brown sugar (4 ½ cups packed)

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon allspice

2 teaspoons nutmeg

1 teaspoon cloves

¼ teaspoon ginger

1 qt sweet cider

Mix all in large kettle and simmer for 1 hour.

For baking with double crust:  Preheat oven 425.  Bake 40-45 min for 8 or 9 inch pies.

PS – The batch has enough mixture for several pies, depending on the size of the pie tin and how full you fill them.  Mixture can be frozen although it remains somewhat soft (that doesn’t seem to hurt it any).

PPS –her secret not listed here is that she also added a half cup of brandy to the mixture for each pie before baking!

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