My Traditional Christmas Breakfast
By Erin Danzer
Every Christmas morning when I was growing up, my brother, parents and I would wake around 7, turn on Christmas music and take turns opening the gifts Santa had left us during the night. While we opened gifts, the meat pies my mom had made earlier in the season would heat in the oven. The sharp smell of sage mixed with the meat would permeate the house, making us salivate with anticipation. Finally, it would be time to eat. We would go to the table, cut the pies in quarters and dig in, always with a chilled dill pickle on the side.
According to my Aunt Sharon, a history teacher as well as family historian, meat pies have been passed down the female side of my dad's family for several generations, brought to the States by my great grandmother DeRosier. Correctly called TOUQUERES (pronounced like "two cares"), meat pies are the traditional French pastry eaten after mass on Christmas Eve/Day. That tradition is the one my aunt, dad and their family followed growing up. The meat pies would be baked during the day on Christmas Eve. Then after midnight mass, they would come home, heat up and eat the meat pies, open presents and then go to bed well fed and already knowing what Santa had brought them while they were at church.
Meat pies have been my Christmas breakfast for as long as I can remember. Now, I share the tradition with my husband and two sons. Someday (many years from now), I hope to pass on the tradition to my future daughters-in-law. But for now, I'm happy to share the tradition with all of you.
You will need (for 3-5 Pies)
3lb ground pork
2lb ground veal
Enough pie crusts for top and bottom crusts for all pies
Salt, pepper and sage to taste
Brown meat until all brown. Drain just about all fat off. Add enough water until meat is slightly covered. Add seasonings (I’m not sure on measurements here. I put a few dashes of salt and pepper and about 2-3TBP ground sage) and let simmer 20 minutes.
Make pie crusts and line pie pans. Fill about half full or little more with meat. (I add a couple spoonfuls of water here to keep it moist while baking.) Cover with top crust and seal. Put hole in middle of top crust.
Bake in 400-degree oven until golden brown (roughly half hour).
For Freezing: Bake 15 minutes. Cool and cover with aluminum foil. Later bake in 425-degree oven for 45 minutes.
Thank you, Brea, for having me on your blog today and sharing my favorite holiday tradition and recipe. To everyone, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!