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Friday, 16 December 2011

last minute christmas mincemeat...

Even though Christmas is nearly upon us, it's still not too late to make your own mincemeat. If you've never made this before it is one of the simplest things to make, but also very gratifying. There is very little work involved. After some weighing, a little chopping and grating, all you need to do is stir occasionally while your house fills with the smell of Christmas-ness.

My recipe is vegetarian, nut free and best of all, there are no horrible big lumps of candied peel - my own personal idea of Christmas hell! As you are making it yourself you can, of course, put the best of everything in… muscatel raisins, golden sultanas, etc. as they really make a big difference to the finished product.

I use butter in mine, as I prefer the flavor to the traditional suet and it also makes it suitable for vegetarians. It will, however, look a little cloudy in the jar, but that will melt away on heating. I also don't include any nuts, as there are a lot of nut allergies around these days. They can be incorporated in the topping instead for those who really love them, but feel free to add some to your own. About 50g of almonds for this quantity of mincemeat is about right, making sure to toast them first to bring out all of their delicious nutty flavor. You could also use brandy or rum in place of the sherry if that's what you have.  I also use regular salted butter but if you are using unsalted remember to add a pinch of salt to the mixture.

175g/6oz currants
175g/6oz raisins
175g/6oz sultanas
175g/6oz glacé cherries
1 small Bramley or other cooking apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
125g/4oz butter
225g/8oz light muscovado sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp mixed spice
Grated zest of one orange
Grated zest and juice of one lemon
200ml/7floz of good quality sherry.

Weigh out your fruits into a large pan and add in the chopped apple, zests and lemon juice, butter, sugar and spices. Allow to melt together over a low heat, then simmer very gently for about 10 minutes. When the mixture has cooled completely, stir in the sherry. Spoon the mix into sterilized jars, seal, label (with love) and store in a cool place.

This makes four jars of mince meat. Use it to make traditional mince pies to feed the hordes of hungry carol singers calling to your door.

 "But what else can I do with it?" I hear you ask… Well, you can mix up your mince pie toppings with almond meringue piped on instead of a pastry lid. Or try a simple nutty crumble topping piled over. Or festive-up your regular ice-cream with a warm dollop of mix. Or even make a bread and butter pudding with slices of plain white bread or brioche sandwiched together with a generous spread of this as a filling before pouring over your custard and baking as usual. Mmmmm!

And of course, if you pack it into a pretty jar and tie a jaunty bow, they do make lovely homemade Christmas stocking fillers.


  1. The pies look exquisite. I'm with you on not using suet, but I am a secret fan of candied peel, and have been known to eat jars of it in stressful situations. I'll be stealing your leaf idea as a change from my usual ducks and hearts.

    And well done to your little penguin.

  2. This is such a good idea...I'm sure there are lots of people out there who still want to make mince pies but worry that they need to rest the mincemeat for months! Your pies look gorgeous in those photos :-)

  3. How cute! I have never made these. The recipe does sound good but I am addicted to the ones from the Gourmet Tart so will feed my addiction there this year. Lovely images too...you are a dab hand with the camera gurrl!

  4. Such a great recipe to have and I love your little pie tops, so beautifully photographed x

  5. Your pies are so pretty. I love the look of glacé cherry in the second one.
    I ate a mince pie for the first time this year. I heard they are addictive. Maybe next year I will make them for my family as this year we spend Christmas on our own and I'm afraid we will have too much food, there are so many wonderful recipes for Christmas, it is so hard to decide.

  6. Lovely! I always use veggie suet, but am intrigued by your alternative.

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