Mace is the lacy, bright scarlet outer covering of the nutmeg. Once it is peeled away and starts to dry, it turns golden yellow. As blade mace, it is added to sauces to infuse flavour before being removed. Its flavour is reminiscent of nutmeg, but more delicate.
Mace can be added to both sweet and savoury baking, but if too much is added it can overpower the flavour. Add a small amount of ground mace to scones, spiced biscuits, fruit cake, cider cake and honey cake.
Why not try a fruit cake using currants, mixed peel, almonds and flavoured with a small amount of cloves and mace? Or add some to coconut muffins and pumpkin pie.
Another good idea is to combine mace with ginger and cinnamon in a ginger cake that contains grated fresh apple. It can also be added to seed cakes.
Instead of using nutmeg in custard tarts use a little ground mace and put some in apple pies with ground cinnamon. When making savoury pies, blade mace can be infused with the sauce or add a little ground mace. This works particularly well for game, chicken or mushroom pies.
Fiona Burrell is co-author of Leiths Baking Bible