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Editor's Note: Jennifer English, of The Food & Wine Radio Network, provided us with this recipe. She likes to vary the fruits in the following, more authentic ways:
Use preserved summer fruits in lieu of mincemeats. Strawberries, raspberries, peaches and plums work well. To this preserve, add 1 tablespoon of orange zest and 1 teaspoon of lemon zest, as well as a pinch of cinnamon (to taste).
Or, try dried fruits. Dried apricots, prunes, pears, peaches and raisins can all be poached in a mixture of: 2 parts water and one part cognac or brandy; 2 tablespoons sugar; 1 stick of cinnamon; fresh gound nutmeg; a pinch of ground cardamom; and a pinch of salt. Once the fruits have softened, add the zest of 1 orange and 1/2 lemon.
Coventry Cakes are sometimes called Godcakes because they were sent by godparents to their godchildren on New Year's Day.
Coventry Cakes are triangular tarts of rich pastry filled with an aromatic mixture of fruits and spices. Prepared pie-crust mix and prepared mincemeat make a delicious version, even if not entirely authentic.
Roll pie crust very thin and cut into 3-inch squares. On one corner of each square place a tablespoonful of well-drained mincemeat. Moisten the edges of the pastry and fold over to make a triangle.
Seal the edges by pressing with the tines of a fork, and prick the tops of each tart.
Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet in a 425 degree Fahrenheit oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
These are best when served hot, but may also be served cold.
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