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December 19, 2018

Take a look inside Queen’s Christmas menu, including 1,200 mince pies and delicious biscuits

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The Queen opened the doors to her Royal kitchen and the delicious treats in the works for Christmas.

The Queen's kitchens are a busy place at this time of the year.

Not only do the cooks and pastry chefs have to prepare the Christmas meals for the Royal family and the staff, but they are also tasked with cooking 1,200 mince pies destined for festive receptions held at the Palace.

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A RIGHT ROYAL BRITISH FAVORITE

Mince pies are a Christmas treat that has been gracing British tables since the 13th century. The sweet pastries are filled with a mixture of dried fruits and spices called "mincemeat."

It is believed that crusaders brought back the recipe from the Middle Eastern, and the sweet pies originally contained meat - probably lamb - as well as fruits and imported spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.

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The Royal recipe for mince pies calls for the currants, mixed peel, and golden sultanas to be soaked in brandy, port, rum, and sherry.

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SPECIAL PIES FOR THE ROYAL TABLE

The Royal pastry chefs create two different types of mince pie for the royal table: one topped with flaked almonds and the other made with puff pastry. The Queen's pastry chef Kathryn Cuthbertson advises anyone tackling mince to “give yourself plenty of time” to make the pastry.

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A SPECIAL RECIPE FROM QUEEN VICTORIA'S DAY

The popularity of mince pies reached its hight at the time of the Christmas-loving Queen Victoria - Queen Elizabeth's great-great-grandmother.

The Royal recipe for mince pies calls for the currants, mixed peel, and golden sultanas to be soaked in brandy, port, rum, and sherry.

The Royal pastry chefs decorate the top of the mince pies with a star or holly-shaped cutter to “add a festive feel” before dusting it with the traditional fine sugar.

But the Royal appetite is not sated with mince pie alone. The chefs bake up a storm gingerbread biscuits, jammy dodgers, and chocolate roulade.

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DOES THE QUEEN EAT SWAN?

For centuries, roast swan was a delicacy reserved for Royal tables. Queen Elizabeth's ancestors loved swan so much, that to this day the Crown is the sole proprietor of all of the swans in England and in Wales. 

But unlike her predecessors, Her Majesty doesn’t eat swan. The Queen's former chef, Darren McGrady, confided:

“They’re actually boring when it comes to festivities! They didn’t do hams or anything, just traditional turkeys. We did three turkeys for the Queen and her family in the royal dining room, one for the children’s nursery and then more for the 100 or so staff, so everyone had a Christmas lunch.”

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If tradition is followed, the Royal family will be sitting down to roast turkey with different stuffing, roast potatoes, mashed potatoes, parsnips, Brussel sprouts, and Christmas pudding for dessert at Sandringham. And some delicious Royal mince pies, of course.

In a related story, read how the cool calm and collected Queen Elizabeth once broke down in tears.

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