The nutmeg tree, Myristica fragrans, is the only tree that produces two separate spices. The fruit contains a hard pit, which is a nutmeg, while the lacy red membrane which surrounds it is mace. The delicate membrane is carefully peeled away from the shell of the nutmeg and spread to dry in the sun, fading from bright red to orangy-brown as it dries.
Mace is a common ingredient in Northern European cooking, showing up in hearty vegetable dishes, cream sauces, and sausages. In baking, mace can be used as a substitute for nutmeg; its mellower flavor is especially nice with fruits or delicate pastries. It’s delicious in pumpkin pie or baked winter squash dishes.