Mrs Beeton’s Mincemeat Recipe From 1861
This is actually the most classic of all classic mincemeats for mince pies. It has a great balance and depth of flavour; and the meat (mince beef) is only a complimentary addition to the dried fruits, as opposed to dominating (as seen in Tudor and Medieval pies). It looks fantastic when made and stored and works wonderfully well in small pies. This recipe is highly recommended.
You can of course omit the meat, for that still classic Victorian filling, but you really should make some with the mince beef to try. When you consider that the right food should be eaten at the right time, then mince pies (made with this filling) are a really tasty treat served up warm on Christmas day as a snack between breakfast and Christmas lunch. And the smell of these baking in the oven casts a wonderful, magical spell over the house.
Note: As you can see in the photos, I am using fresh beef suet from the butcher, you can use beef suet from a packet. Mrs Beeton recommends the use of this mincemeat after 2 weeks, as do I, and I would store it in the fridge.
Original Mincemeat Recipe From 1861
1309. INGREDIENTS – 2 lbs. of raisins, 3 lbs. of currants, 1–1/2 lb. of lean beef, 3 lbs. of beef suet, 2 lbs. of moist sugar, 2 oz. of citron, 2 oz. of candied lemon-peel, 2 oz. of candied orange-peel, 1 small nutmeg, 1 pottle of apples, the rind of 2 lemons, the juice of 1, 1/2 pint of brandy.
Mode.—Stone and cut the raisins once or twice across, but do not chop them; wash, dry, and pick the currants free from stalks and grit, and mince the beef and suet, taking care that the latter is chopped very fine; slice the citron and candied peel, grate the nutmeg, and pare, core, and mince the apples; mince the lemon-peel, strain the juice, and when all the ingredients are thus prepared, mix them well together, adding the brandy when the other things are well blended; press the whole into a jar, carefully exclude the air, and the mincemeat will be ready for use in a fortnight.
- 200g shredded suet (fresh or packet)
- 100g of minced beef (lean)
- 1 large Bramley apple (300g) peeled, cored and chopped small
- 200g currants
- 150g raisins
- 150g candied citrus peel
- 100ml brandy
- 1 lemon, zest and juice
- 200g soft brown sugar (muscovado)
- 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
If you are using fresh suet, chop up finely and shred. Combine all the ingredients (except the brandy) in a large non-metallic mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Make sure everything is cut up small and then evenly mixed in, and the lean beef mince is small and broken up. Pour over the brandy and give another good stir. Cover the bowl and leave overnight in the fridge.
The next day sterilise one or two air tight preserving jars. Divide the mincemeat between the jars, seal and label. You can store this mincemeat in a sterilised jar in the fridge for up to two weeks, (recommended) or even longer, up to a month or more in a cool dark area.
[The full recipes for mincemeat, used in mince pies, are found in the following pages of this article]