1958 Thanksgiving Menu: Dessert

Last up in the 1958 Thanksgiving menu is the dessert. Because I combined two different menus, I had the choice between making pumpkin pie and mincemeat squares. I chose the bars for two reasons. First, I originally thought I was going to be doing a post on the history of the Libby pumpkin pie. So I figured that no one needs two pumpkin pies in one month. That changed as I instead did the history of green bean casserole. Second, if anyone of you read my first Thanksgiving menu, I talk about my nostalgia for mincemeat as it was my grandmother’s favorite pie. I actually remember mincemeat and apple pies (with a slice of sharp cheddar) being part of early Thanksgiving waaayyyy more than pumpkin pie. If you really want a pumpkin pie from the same year, I did a post about a pumpkin mallow pie last month.


These bars, just like the rest of the menu, are a cinch to make. All it takes is combining some butter, sugar, flour, and oats together and pressing some of it into the pan. Premade mincemeat is spread across that and the rest of the flour/oats mixture is sprinkled on top. It is baked, cooled slightly, and sliced. Then it is served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It really doesn’t get much easier. Mincemeat should be available at most supermarkets at this time of year. Not all mincemeat contains meat but some keep a little in the recipe as a nod to the past. Make sure you read the label if that is a concern for you.


This is the recipe that I altered the most. The original recipe used two cups of the mincemeat and evenly distrubuted the flour mixture on the top an bottom. Wow was that mincemeat layer all you could taste. It overwhelmed the whole bar. I cut that almost in halve while also putting a little more of the flour and oats mixture on the bottom. The end result was night and day. Oh and do not forget the lemon. It really does brighten up the richness of the mincemeat.

Mincemeat Squares

  • Servings: 9 to 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

An easy dessert made with premade mincemeat


  • 1 1/4 cups mincemeat
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract or 1/2 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • Optional: vanilla ice cream for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 9 inch square pan with parchment that overhangs.
  2. In a bowl mix together the mincemeat with the lemon extract or juice. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, rolled oats and salt.
  4. Cut in the shortening with a pastry blender until the mixture has the consistency of coarse crumb.
  5. Press about 2/3 of the flour mixture evenly in pan. Spread the mincemeat over that layer. Sprinkle with the remaining flour mixture.
  6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
  7. Let the bars cool slightly in the pan.
  8. Using the parchment paper, remove the bars and cut into squares.
  9. If desired serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.


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