In this week's Martin & Sylvia story “Putting on a Play”, Martin and Sylvia wake to a very cold morning — ten below! Momma's car won't start, and she is unable to get to the office. What will she do? It just so happens there is to be a play in the living room. It's a play about the conquest of the south pole — starring Martin and Sylvia, and featuring Daddy as the sled dog!
While I'm sure Martin and Sylvia's play was fabulous, there are no plays more famous 'round the world than those written by Shakespeare. “Romeo and Juliet”, “The Taming of the Shrew”, “A Midsummer Night's Dream” — all are as entertaining today as they were when they were performed at the Globe Theater during the Renaissance Era.
Can you imagine how fun it would be to see a play at the Globe? The crowd bustling around you, a hot, meat pie in your hand...
A meat pie, you ask? Indeed! Back in Shakespeare's day theater concessions included fruit, nuts, and small hand pies stuffed with mincemeat — a mixture of meat, spices, and fruit.
First, these can easily get dry, so make sure you start with ground beef with a higher fat content.
Second, don't get scared off, by the combination of fruit and meat. It sounds strange, I know, but on the whole, my family thought these had a sort of Mediterranean flavor.
Last, while I couldn't find much information about sauces or spreads in Shakespeare's day, we liked these with dollops of grainy mustard and puckery dill pickles.
Shakespearean Meat Pies (Makes 8 small pies)
½ pound ground beef
⅓ cup dried cranberries
6 dates, pitted
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon salt
2-3 grinds black pepper
2 pie crusts (store-bought or homemade, as you prefer)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Mix the beef, cranberries, dates, rosemary leaves, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Whiz them together until everything is well incorporated, and then pop the mixture into the fridge.
Next, roll the pie dough out to about ¼” thickness. Using a large drinking glass or small plate as a guide, cut out eight circles that are about 6-8 inches wide apiece. Remove the meat mixture from the fridge and spoon a generous dollop on one side of each dough circle. Fold each circle over and pinch the sides closed.
Arrange the pies on a large, rimmed baking sheet. (Be sure to use a rimmed sheet, as the pies will ooze out juices that will make a mess in your oven if uncontained.) In a small bowl, whisk the egg with a dash of water. Using a pastry brush, generously paint the egg wash over the tops of the pies.
Bake the pies for 25-30 minutes, or until the tops are golden. Serve with grainy mustard and dill pickles.
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About the Author
The Sparkle Kitchen Series is created by Meryl Carver-Allmond.
Meryl lives in a hundred-year-old house near the prairie with her sweet husband, two preschoolers, one puppy, one gecko, and about ten chickens. While she's been writing since she could pick up a pen, in recent years she's discovered the joy of photography, too. She feels lucky to be able to combine those skills, along with a third passion — showing people that cooking for themselves can be healthy and fun — in her Sparkle Kitchen posts.