Christmas Mincemeat! The season for mincemeat can officially begin! I only tried it for the first time, last year when one of my co-workers got us a massive batch of mince pies and I instantly fell in love.
When I heard the name “Mincemeat” I thought it was simply a minced meat mixed with fruits and sugar and I have to say I was not very keen on trying it until I checked what actually goes inside! I also did some research and according to online articles, mincemeat originally always contained meat. The recipe evolved as the centuries passed but the main ingredients didn’t change, mincemeat is a combination of chopped dried fruits, spices, and spirits with some sort of fat, either beef or vegetarian suet or butter.
I made my mincemeat using my friend’s aunt recipe which she kindly copied and sent to me and if I’m right it comes from one of Delia’s books. I added a couple of tweaks and the final produce got a big thumbs up!
HOMEMADE CHRISTMAS MINCEMEAT
(based on Delia’s recipe with my tweaks – makes 6lb / 2.75kg / 7 x 370g jars)
- 450 g Bramley Apples, cored and finely chopped
- 200 g vegetarian suet
- 300 g raisins
- 200 g sultanas
- 200 g currants
- 100 g dried cranberries
- 200 g mixed peel, finely chopped
- 350 g soft dark brown sugar
- Zest and juice of 2 oranges
- Zest and juice of 2 lemons
- 60 g almonds, finely chopped
- 4 tsp mixed ground spice
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 10 tbsp brandy
Combine the following ingredients: apples, raisins, sultanas, currants, cranberries, mixed peel, almonds, suet, brown sugar, zest and juice of lemons and oranges, mixed spice, cinnamon, nutmeg in a large ovenproof mixing bowl, stir it all thoroughly so that all ingredients are mixed well together. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and leave it in a cool place for at least 12 hours, so the flavours can develop.
Preheat the oven to 120 C (fan assisted), cover the bowl with foil, place in the oven and “bake” for 3 hours.
Remove the bowl from the oven*, leave to cool, stirring from time to time, when the mincemeat is cold stir in the brandy. Transfer to clean, dry jars and keep in a cool dark cupboard. According to Delia, the mincemeat is best eaten within a year of making.
*Delia says not to worry about the look of the mincemeat when you take it out of the oven, it will look like it’s swimming in fat – this is how it should look.