Versatile Home-made Mince Meat Filling:
This particular modern recipe can be made up just days, or weeks in advance, or even if necessary on the day you need to use it. It also can be made up and stored for over 6 months to mature even more. It is called versatile because it is – feel free to replace ANYTHING – e.g. replace the mixed candied citrus peel with glacé cherries or cranberries, replace the almonds with walnuts, the rum with an orange liqueur, brandy for whiskey, the apples for pears etc. etc. This particular recipe is giving you the building blocks in which to make and adapt your own recipe – just replace with a similar ingredient, weight for weight or measurement for measurement. Examples have been given.
If you are making this up, with only a week or so to age, reduce the amount of alcohol.
- 200g mixed candied citrus peel / glace cherries
- 200g currants / chopped dried, ready to eat apricots
- 200g raisins / cranberries
- 200g sultanas / mix dried exotic fruits
- 200g apples, peeled, cored and chopped fairly small / pears
- 200g shredded beef suet / vegetarian suet
- 100g almonds / cashews / walnuts / hazelnuts – coarsely chopped
- 150g brown sugar (demerara) / dark good-quality chocolate
- 150g soft dark sugar (muscovado) / white granular sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon / ground nutmeg
- 2 tsp ground mixed spice / ground ginger
- 1 large lemon (zest and juice)
- 1 large orange (zest and juice)
- 125ml Dark Rum / whisky / port
- 125ml Brandy / various liqueurs
Wash the dried fruit thoroughly in a colander under the cold tap – whatever it says on the packet, washing the fruit is something you should do. Tip the fruit on to clean tea towels and dry by patting in the cloths. Put the dried fruit in a very large mixing bowl with the apples, suet, almonds, sugars and spices. Grate the zest of the lemon into the bowl, then squeeze in the juice. Tip in the citrus peel and the alcohol.
Mix all the ingredients for the mincemeat very thoroughly. Cover and leave to stand for 24 hours, and as part of the tradition for luck, ask the family to stop and give it a good stir with a spoon when they pass by. The next day, pack the mincemeat into sterilised preserving jars. Seal the jars tightly and store in a cool place. The mincemeat is best used within 6 to 12 months.
[The full recipes for mincemeat, used in mince pies, are found in the following pages of this article]