Firstly, sorry I’ve left this until December 12 to put up a Christmas recipe. Other stuff has gotten in the way. But I’m back now.
I don’t need to tell you what mincemeat is – I’ve made my own for a good few years now; utilising various recipes and trying to get it right. I’ve used Nigella, Delia, the Ministry Of Food from 1945 and going back a bit further, a 1934 recipe. This year I simply couldn’t decide what to do, so I combined elements from Fanny Cradock’s Royal Mincemeat (yes, the same stuff she thinks is most excellent as an undercooked omelette filling) and the Ministry Of Food as these were what matched my budget and in-cupboard availabilities the most, and decided to go it alone.
I also took inspiration from the ingredients list on the box of Waitrose 1 Mince Pies as I found these to be particularly excellent for bought ones, which is why there’s some unusual ingredients like golden syrup in this, and I used glacé cherries and dried apricots in the mixed fruit as that’s what Waitrose used. But honestly, use whatever combo of dried fruit takes your fancy – just make sure it’s 1lb. I must also highly recommend the dark raisiny tones of Pedro Ximinez sherry as one of your boozes of choice – honestly, makes a real difference.
I’m fairly old-school when it comes to mincemeat – it must contain suet, and I prefer to make it just by combining ingredients and jarring; no cooking necessary as it gets cooked in the pies.
Bramley apples are the best to use, but you can use whatever you like – I actually used Royal Galas as I had some in the fridge that I’d gotten reduced and in bulk. The only work involved is some grating and snipping for the dried apricots (if using), and it takes mere minutes before you have your own homemade mincemeat ready to lock and load.
8oz brown sugar
4-5oz shredded suet (vegetable if you want)
8oz apples, grated (any variety you desire – leave the skin on)
1lb mixed dried fruit (any you like – I recommend dried apricots and glacé cherries to be a part of the mix)
Zest 1 orange and 1 lemon
2tbsp marmalade (any you like)
1tbsp golden syrup
1tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp mixed spice
2tbsp Pedro Ximinez sherry
OPTIONAL: Juice of 1/2 a lemon, especially if you’re using eating apples. Plus extra liquid helps dissolve the sugar, syrup and marmalade.
- Combine ingredients in a large bowl.
- Pack into sterilised jars and seal. Add brandy (or any spirit) from time to time to keep it going.