Original Pacific North West Bambi Brand Pie Filling

November 2, 2013

My mother, my aunts, my grandmother and nearly every grown up I knew as a child made mince pies for Christmas. Served hot with custard or cold with a dusting of confectionary sugar they were a standard item for the season. Nobody cared where the filling, that dark, moist and sometimes boozy material, came from.

Of course it was from jars and tins! Very few people made the filling themselves or even used any of the original recipes from the long distant past. No; it was easier to open a Crosse and Blackwell jar and voila! instant success. It was the pastry crust that gave those pies the aura of being genuinely homemade. It is that crust that I have been trying to duplicate for nearly forty years with occasional success.

I have had more success with making what I call ‘Bambi’ filling. I can almost hear your sharp intake of breath. Bambi? Yes, folks. Good and genuine mincemeat is just one way of using up and preserving the delicious venison that you hunted, shot and dressed yourself on that amazing trip into the Idaho woods with Bo, Red, and Jake.

Now that you have a freezer chest full of Venison you are ready to make mincemeat the old fashioned way. Here is the recipe I use. Naturally you can increase the amount of Venison in proportion.



3 cups golden raisins

3 cups raisins

3 cups currants

2 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples

1 pound of lean Venison. Braise till still rare and pink in the center,

mince but not too fine.

1/2 Cup Lemon Peel, finely chopped

1/4 Cup Lemon Juice

1 and half tablespoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon mace

3 Cloves whole

1/ 2 Teaspoon ground clove

2 teaspoons grated nutmeg

3 cups brown sugar, packed

2 teaspoons salt

1 quart apple cider

1/2 pound beef suet, minced, or Crisco

1/2 cup Cognac


Roughly chop the dried fruit.

Peel, core and chop apples into half inch dice.

Put all ingredients, except for brandy, into a 8 quart pot.

Mix well, and bring to a simmer.

Cook, uncovered, until apples are soft, stirring frequently.

When softened, cook for 30 minutes, partially covered.

Season with half cup Cognac. Not the good stuff!

Use immediately in pies or pack into sterilized jars.

If you want to store for longer than a few months you must sterilize the filled jars. If you are going to use your filling sooner a shallow layer of Cognac on the top surface will do the trick.

Whether you put this filling in small hand pies, large dish pies, or open flans I almost guarantee that no one will ever guess that it contains Bambi until you tell them. One of my friends eats it with ice cream. No crust, just ice cream.

Let me know how you get on.


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