If you were a European crusader you'd be able to cast your mind back, way back to when it was the 13th century and recall the new Christmas treat on the block.
There were those spiced fruit and meat recipes that tantalised your nostrils and haunted your dreams during your Middle Eastern adventures. Do you remember returning home to Britain to bake them into large shortcrust pastry pie fillings?
Of course you don't. For all of the crusaders are now dead and buried. Way down, down, deep into the earth. Never to be seen again. But how the pie lives on!
Some called it the Mutton pie and others called it the Shrid pie. Quite common was to call it the Christmas pie, but most people called it by the name we still use today, the mince pie.
During the English civil war, Puritan authorities frowned upon the Christmas pie, because of it's association with Catholic idolatry. However, this may have even helped to increase it's popularity amongst Anglicans.
In the UK, they are just as popular today. Nearly as popular as Christmas itself, they sit immoveably in the warm comfy seat of Christmas tradition. Although, rarely are they appreciated outside the winter season.
However, they have changed a little since the fashion of baking one huge pie to share. The Victorians changed them to a more personal, smaller and easy-to-nibble-with-your-cup-of-tea size. It was during this time that the recipe was also sweetened. Those Victorians!
These days they populate shops and markets, stacked up high and twelve for an English pound.
As cheap as they are, it will forever be worth baking your own batch as a personalised treat for visitors, friends or pie tasting champions alike!
Mince pies are for keeps, yo.