Time to start getting prepared for Christmas! I’ve made Delia’s mincemeat before and it works well. However it doesn’t look the same as the shop bought mincemeat because she melts the suet so it coats the fruit. The reason for doing this is so that the apple doesn’t continue to ferment in the pot. Remembering how much my boys love mince pies I may not have made enough mincemeat so I might try a more traditional recipe and compare keeping power and flavour. I have a strictly no mince pies before December so this has a little time to mature. It should keep for up to a year sealed.
The picture below shows the mixture before it went into the oven. It took me about an hour to prepare and combine all the ingredients. One of the slow jobs was because I had to blanch the almonds before chopping into slivers. It smelt wonderful as it heated.
- 1 lb (450 g) unpeeled Bramley apples – cored and chopped
- 2 unwaxed lemons – zested and juiced
- 2 oranges – zested and juiced
- 8 oz (225 g) candied peel – cut into pieces
- 2 oz (50 g) whole almonds – cut into narrow slivers
- 12 oz (350 g) raisins
- 8 oz (225 g) sultanas
- 8 oz (225 g) currants
- 12 oz (350 g) soft dark brown sugar
- 4 level teaspoons ground mixed spice
- ½ level teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- 8 oz (225 g) shredded suet – ready-prepared shredded beef suet is perfect for mincemeat, but can be substituted with vegetarian suet.
- Combine all the ingredients, except for the brandy, in a large mixing bowl, stirring them and mixing them together very thoroughly indeed.
- Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and leave the mixture in a cool place overnight or for 12 hours, so the flavours have a chance to mingle and develop.
- Pre-heat the oven to gas mark ¼, 225°F (110°C). Cover the bowl loosely with foil and place it in the oven for 3 hours, then remove the bowl from the oven. Don’t worry about the appearance of the mincemeat, which will look positively swimming in fat. This is how it should look.
- As it cools, stir it from time to time; the fat will coagulate and, instead of it being in tiny shreds, it will encase all the other ingredients.
- When the mincemeat is quite cold, stir well again, adding the brandy.
- Pack in jars that have been sterilised (see below). When filled, cover with waxed discs and seal. The mincemeat will keep for up to a year in a cool, dark cupboard
NOTE: To sterilise jars, wash the jars and lids in warm soapy water, rinse well, then dry thoroughly with a clean tea cloth, place them on a baking tray and pop into a medium oven, gas mark 4, 350°F, 180°C, for 5 minutes.