Thursday, 27 September 2012


Well as promised another recipe in the run up to Christmas (sorry I said that word again, before Halloween no less) Today its mincemeat, one of my hubbies favourite foods over Christmas. He particularly loves my Mums mince pies and always gets her to pack him a supply to come home with. She does make very good pastry I must say, which she says is because she always has cold hands, well who am I to argue.

Anyway I made my mincemeat yesterday and of course mum will get some to use in her famous pies. Mincemeat nowadays does not contain meat, it did once but not anymore.  In the 15th,16th and 17th centuries in England mincemeat was describe a mixture of meat and fruit used as a pie filling. These early recipes included vinegar's and wines, but by the 18th century, distilled spirits, frequently brandy, were being used instead. The use of spices like clovenutmegmace and cinnamon was common in late medieval and renaissance meat dishes. The increase of sweetness from added sugars, and those produced from fermentation, made mincemeat less a savoury dinner course and helped to direct its use toward dessert.

The only link now to meat is in the form of beef suet which is still used by some people, but that too is fading out as more people now use vegetable suet so the link with the original product are all but gone. How's that for a bit of history.

Anyway my recipe, the origin of which I cannot recall has been around for a while tried and tested over many years by my family. I have tried others but this one seems to work well. 


55g vegetable or beef suet
25g apple
25g pear
25g mixed peel
55g sultanas
55g raisins
25g dried apricots
25g cherries- glace or dried
40g dark brown sugar 
1/2tsp nutmeg
1/2tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 mixed spice.
15ml brandy
1/2 juice and zest of 1 orange.

This will make 1 lb or 450g of mincemeat if you want more just increase the quantities you can add other ingredients such as a few nuts or perhaps you like currants or prefer more cherries etc. Well you can modify this recipe to suit you so long as you keep the basic quantities.i for example made double this quantity and instead of doubling up on the apricots I added chopped almonds. Do, however, what suits you.  


Once you have thoroughly mixed the ingredients together you can then pack the mixture into sterilised jars and seal.
Store in a cool dark place. 
You could mix this up a week or two before Christmas if you wanted to but I find the longer it matures the better the flavour. I have a friend who has kept her mincemeat for a good 12 months and its still been great, but that's your choice I normally stick with 6- 4months.    

All ready for Christmas. Note as it matures the contents appear to darken   

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