Many Christmas ingredients make superb homeopathic remedies. Just look at the mince pie or should we say figgy pudding...
“There’ll be parties for hosting; Marshmallows for toasting; And carolling out in the snow”
It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Edward Pola and George Wyle, 1963
“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire; Jack Frost nipping at your nose”
The Christmas Song, Robert Wells and Mel Tormé, 1945
“Now bring us some figgy pudding; Now bring us some figgy pudding; Now bring us some figgy pudding; And a cup of good cheer!”
We Wish You a Merry Christmas, Traditional, early 1700s
As food is at the heart of so many traditions at this time of year, some of the most loved holiday songs have food references baked right into them - and many foods are great homeopathic remedies. Figgy pudding, a catchy lyric but misleading term, is surprisingly not a pudding made of figs, but a catch-all term traditionally used to refer to a class of Christmas dishes of sweet and savoury cakes, often featuring honey, nuts, and fruits.
Maybe the old bakers who came up with these December delectables knew a little something about the winter healing properties in their favourite ingredients, as we have many wonderful homeopathic remedies made from the same yummy sources.
You may notice themes of digestive disturbances, exhaustion, and skin symptoms (detox) running throughout these – certainly common complaints at this time of year!
Vanilla (Vanilla Planifolia)
Part of the orchid family, this remedy is useful in skin irritations resembling poison oak, and acts as a stimulant for the brain and libido.
Orange (Citrus Vulgaris)
Helps with frequent and irresistible yawning, and headache with nausea, vomiting and vertigo.
Walnut (Juglans Regia)
This remedy is useful for skin eruptions including acne, confusion and feeling as if the head was floating in air, and sharp pain in the occiput.
Honey with Salt (Mel Cum Sale)
The most distinctive symptom of this remedy is a sensation of soreness across the hypogastrium from ileum to ileum.
This remedy has increased appetite, referred to as ‘a very imperious desire to eat’, as well as various sensations of hot and cold in different parts of the body at the same time, and one-sided neuralgias.
Nutmeg (Nux Moschata)
This remedy is known for irresistible drowsiness, even fainting fits, and is also useful for bloating and flatulent dyspepsia.
Cinnamon (Cinnamonum Ceylanicum)
Useful in uterine haemorrhages, especially after straining, this remedy also has flatulence and diarrhea and is reported to have an affinity for feeble patients with languid circulation.
Ginger (Zingible Officinale)
In this remedy, the stomach feels heavy, as if from a stone, sometimes accompanied by great rumbling and wind, and it is also useful in hoarseness.
Many of these ingredients feature in Mince Pie, so here’s a recipe to enjoy as your ‘figgy pudding’ for the season. And may we suggest it pairs well with a cup of good cheer!
Homemade mince pies
Recipe by: Thane Prince
Source: BBC food website
For the mincemeat
• 150g/5½oz raisins
• 150g/5½oz currants
• 75g/2½oz chopped mixed peel
• 3 tbsp brandy
• 150g/5½oz cold butter, grated
• 125g/4½oz dark brown soft sugar or muscovado sugar
• 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
• 1 tsp ground mixed spice
• 1 Bramley apple, peeled, grated, core discarded
• 1 orange, juice and zest
• 1 lemon, juice and zest
For the pastry
• 350g/12oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
• 150g/5½oz unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes
• 50g/1¾oz icing sugar, sifted
• 1 orange, zest only
• 2 free-range egg yolks
• 2 free-range eggs, beaten
• 50g/1¾oz demerara sugar
Combine all of the ingredients for the mincemeat in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Cover with cling film and leave for 24 hours.
For the pastry, sift the flour into a bowl, add the softened butter, icing sugar and orange zest and gently incorporate with your hands until the mixture resembles rough breadcrumbs. Mix in the egg yolks and then add 2-3 tablespoons of water to help bring it together. Squeeze the pastry together gently until you have a soft ball of pastry. Flatten to a disc, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4.
- Grease a bun tin or muffin tin, depending on how deep you like your mince pies. Unwrap the pastry and roll out on a lightly floured work surface to the thickness of a one pound coin. Cut out 12 discs of pastry with a pastry cutter slightly bigger than the size of the bun tin holes. Press a round of pastry into the bottom of each hole. Fill each pastry case with mincemeat and then cut a further 12 rounds of pastry (this time one size smaller). Brush the rims of the pastry cases with a little beaten egg and press the lids on, pressing the edges with the ends of a fork to seal shut.
- Brush the lids with beaten egg and then use a small knife or skewer to make a slit in the top of each pie. Sprinkle with demerara sugar and then transfer the tray to the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Bake the mince pies for 20-25 minutes, or until golden-brown and crisp. Transfer to a wire rack to cool and then turn the mince pies out and serve. Any leftover mincemeat should be spooned into sterilised jars and sealed.