A Modern Mincemeat Recipe
This particular recipe for mincemeat does not need to be eaten (and used in mince pies) just around the Christmas period. This is a lighter, fruitier mincemeat and is good at anytime of the year, especially in Autumn. Using a larger tart dish make an open-faced pastry tart base (with a short-crust pastry) and then fill it with this spiced apple mincemeat, lay over some pastry lattice strips, then bake. Serve large slices warm, with vanilla custard.
Although, of course, it can still be used in mince pies for Christmas, and it is excellent if you want a mix of tradition with modern flavours. It can also be made the night before, at a pinch, but it stores and matures for over 6 months easily. The modern use of an American Bourbon whiskey (note the spelling of whisky) as well as Glace Cherries and dried apricots give this mincemeat a wonderful modern, fruity intensity, while the muscavado sugar adds a molasses note. The one traditional ingredient you can leave out if you want is the Brambley apple, in almost every other mincemeat it adds a little magic, but here, if absent, it is not missed. I would be tempted to add in a couple of pears instead to compliment the apricot.
If you are making this up, with only a week or so to age, reduce the amount of alcohol.
- 100g Glace Cherries (chopped small)
- 200g currants
- 200g raisins
- 200g sultanas
- 1 Large Bramley apple (400g) peeled, cored and diced small (or use pears)
- 250g dried apricots / ready to eat (chopped coarsely)
- 200ml Bourbon Whiskey (Jack Daniels etc.)
- 70g flaked almonds (broken small)
- 200g shredded suet
- 250g soft dark brown sugar (muscovado)
- 1 orange, zest and juice
- 1 lemon, zest and juice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp grated nutmeg
- 1 tsp ground ginger
Into a large, non-metallic mixing bowl add the chopped apples, chopped apricots, dried fruit, almonds, suet and sugar. Stir thoroughly until fully mixed. Add the orange and lemon zest and juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and finally the whiskey. Once again mix thoroughly.
Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and leave to stand overnight somewhere cool. The next day give a final stir and spoon the mincemeat into sterilized jars, pressing the mincemeat down well so that no air pockets are trapped, fill right to the top of the jar and then seal. Store the jars in a cool, dark place for at least a month and once opened use within 4 weeks – the jar (unopened) will keep for over 6 to 12 months.
This is a mincemeat that I usually give out as gifts in December; the number of people who appreciate an aged mincemeat around the holiday period is ever increasing. Shop-bought ones never give you the same great flavours as a home-made one, made with attention to detail and using great ingredients.
[The full recipes for mincemeat, used in mince pies, are found in the following pages of this article]