Home-Made Christmas Mincemeat

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My recent mincemeat swirl recipe has been a huge success in our house. Not only have me and my house-mates now made around 5 batches between us, it has spread beyond – to family, friends, tutors…! We now consumed over 6 jars of mincemeat this year so I thought it was about time I branched out and came up with a recipe for my own.

This recipe has been adapted from lots of individual recipes online and from family and friends to get the best of both when it comes to taste and cost. All in all, this recipe comes in at around £5-7 (based on Morrison’s own brand ingredients, Dec 2012) but it makes a tonne of beautiful, home-made mincemeat, perfect for presents or just for your own personal (never-ending) stash of mince pies. Compared to other mincemeat recipes that use brandy or whisky to soak the fruit, this one not only gets bonus points for value, but the flavour of the mulled wine adds so much more to the mix too.

Unlike some recipes, this does not require any cooking, like jams or chutneys. However, for a more sticky, jam-like mincemeat, heating the soaked fruit and juices with 3 tbsp water, in a saucepan on a low heat for 20 minutes. This could be done before putting it into jars or using in your recipe. I would advise doing this if making open tarts or the mincemeat swirl recipe.

Makes approx 3-4lb.

Ingredients

1kg mixed fruit and peel (stuff from the value range is fine, we won’t tell)
180g vegetable suet
1 orange, zested and juiced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
500ml mulled wine (or red wine plus extra ground spices)
2-3 apples, chopped (bramley or eating – whatever you have around)
1-2 tsp ground ginger
1-2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
pinch of mixed spice

Optional:
150g brown sugar (will make it sweeter but will probably help it keep for longer)
75g almonds (or other similar nuts), chopped

Method

Chop the apple into small chunks. Throw everything but the suet into a large bowl and cover with clingfilm -alternatively, use a large saucepan with a lid. Leave in your kitchen overnight, at room temperature, stirring regularly to allow the fruit to soak up all the juice. In the morning, add the suet before spooning into jars.

Keep in a cool dark place. If you have time, your mincemeat will appreciate 2 weeks to allow the flavours to enhance, but if not, it tastes pretty good the same day!

In the unlikely event that you have any of this mincemeat left over after Christmas, it will probably keep for a few months, unopened. However I would be reluctant to keep it for more than 6 months due to the lower alcohol content in this recipe compared to standard ones using brandy or whisky without adding the extra sugar. But, your choice.

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