I am struggling with the whole Christmas thing this year, and I doubt I’m alone. This year has been so hideous, I just can’t focus on the C word with all the usual gusto. That said, we’ve put up some festive lights outside the house, I’ve made my Christmas cake and now, I’ve made my own Mincemeat, so things are looking a little more twinkly.
I can’t believe, given the amount of Mincemeat recipes there are on LL, I’ve never been arsed to make my own. Until now. Good old Delia has come up trumps and I’ve meddled with her recipe to suit all my seasonal cravings. A fruity mix of raisins, sultanas, dried cranberries and a decent slug of brandy transforms itself into a wonderful basis for your mince pies, mincemeat crumble slice or mincemeat and marzipan cake. And bloody hell it’s easy to make. The chopping of the apples is the only labour intensive part of the recipe, the rest is simply stirring and packing into jars. I used vegetarian suet as a less squeamish option, but beef suet will be just as tasty. It will need a 12 hour/overnight soaking period, so get ahead of yourself while we’re still in bloody lockdown.
You could give this homemade festive treat as a thoughtful gift this Christmas. I won’t be doing this, as we *and by we I mean me* eat at least 12 mince pies a week at this time of year.
Could this be a more festive line up *said in the voice of Chandler Bing*? For me, just the smell of a zested orange makes me feel a teeny bit more Christmassy regardless of the cinnamon and nutmeg combo.
Just as a heads up, you’ll need to make a start on this 12 hours before you want to cook it. But that’s fine, as we have sod all else to do at the moment. Take a large, and I mean large, bowl and add the raisins, sultanas, cranberries and peel.
Measure in the suet, dark brown sugar, mixed spice, cinnamon, nutmeg and chopped apple (thank God there’s no need to peel them).
Zest and juice the lemons and oranges then add that to the wonderful bowl of festive ingredients and stir. And I mean stir; it is quite hard as there’s a lot of gubbins in the bowl. Ensure everythings well coated.
Now, cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and leave in a cool place for at least 12 hours, or overnight. Give the bowl a stir once or twice, if you’re passing.
When your soaking time is up, give the mixture another good stir while you pre heat your oven to a low 100 degrees fan.
Loosely cover the bowl with foil and add the whole business to the oven for 3 hours.
After 3 hours, remove your mincemeat from the oven. Don’t panic if it looks oily. As it cools, regularly stir, to ensure everything is well coated and the suet mixes in.
While the mincemeat cools completely, sterlise your jars by giving them a good wash in hot soapy water, then pop into a hot oven for 5 minutes.
Once the mixture is totally cool, stir in the 6 tablespoons of brandy then fill your jars to the top with your precious festive preserve.
Seal your jars with little waxed circles, or I imagine a piece of greaseproof paper would be ok too.
Screw the lids on tightly, then this wonderful batch will keep for at least a year, or more, according to queen Delia.
You can use this Mincemeat for so many mincemeat based Christmas recipes. Or just open the jar, inhale, and instantly feel more festive.
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Makes around 4 x 500g jars
You will need a large oven proof bowl, jars to store and little wax circles to seal the jars
500g cooking apples, no need to peel, cored and chopped into small pieces
225g dried cranberries
150g chopped mixed peel
225g suet, I used a vegetarian variety
350g dark brown sugar
4 teaspoons mixed spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Generous grating fresh nutmeg
2 oranges, zest and juice
2 lemons, zest and juice
6 tablespoons brandy
Start this recipe the day before you need it. Take a large oven proof bowl (mine was a big glass one) and measure in the cored and chopped apples, raisins, sultanas, peel and dried cranberries. Follow in with dark brown sugar, suet, mixed spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange and lemon juices and zests.
Give it all a huge stir, making sure everything is well mixed and coated. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and leave in a cool place for 12 hours, or overnight. Give the bowl a stir, once or twice, if you like, during that time.
When the time’s up, pre heat your oven to a low 100 degrees fan assisted. Give your mincemeat a good stir again, then cover your bowl loosely with foil and then place the bowl in the oven for 3 hours.
Remove from the oven and as the mincemeat cools, stir well, to ensure the melted fat coats the ingredients. Don’t panic if it looks oily, it will mix once cooled and well stirred.
When the mincemeat is totally cool, stir in the 6 tablespoons of brandy. Spoon into sterilised jars (wash the jars in hot soapy water then place into a hot oven for 5 minutes to sterilise). Place a waxed circle on the top of each jar, pop a lid on and close tightly.
The mincemeat will keep in a cool, dark place for at least a year, longer according to Delia.