I can’t claim this mincemeat recipe to be my own – I modified it by removing the nuts and fiddling with the quantities, but I served it at one of my recent pop-up restaurants in Epping with warm mince pies with Calvados butter and everyone begged me for the recipe, so here it is!
Makes 6lb of delicious homemade mincemeat – a wonderful gift to have in the cupboard for any last-minute guests! Just make sure they know to save it for Christmas next year.
1lb cooking apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
8oz shredded suet (225g) (not suitable for celiacs)
12oz raisins (350g)
8oz currents (225g)
8oz whole mixed peel, finely shopped (225g)
12oz soft dark brown sugar (350g)
The grated rind and juice of 2 oranges
The grated rind and juice of 2 lemons
4 teaspoons mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Half a nutmeg, grated
6 tablespoons brandy
Simply mix all the ingredients (except the brandy) together in a large bowl, then cover with a cloth and leave for 12 hours. To stop fermentation place the mincemeat in a cool oven gas mark 1/4, (120 degrees C ) for 3 hours. Then allow it to get cold, stir in the brandy and spoon into clean dry jars. Cover with waxed discs, then seal. This will keep for at least a year, so get cracking for Christmas 2016.
When making mince pies I like to keep it simple – shop-bought puff pastry rolled out and cut with pastry cutters will do just fine. Remember to make the bottom circle slightly bigger than the top circle “lids”. These are so much fun (and simple) to cook with the children as part of your annual Christmas traditions.
Grease an indented baking tray and lay the large circles in the indents. Use a knife to make two tiny slits in the pastry base – this is very important and ensures that the bottom does not puff up too much, spilling all the mincemeat!
Place a teaspoon of mincemeat in the large circle and then pop the smaller circle on top. Brush the top with a beaten egg yolk and pop in a hot oven for between 8 and 12 minutes, at 200C, until their tops go golden brown. Serve while still warm
For the children, accompany with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. For the grown ups? Try my boozy Calvados butter recipe below.
For the Calvados butter
1 pack of unsalted butter
2.5oz caster sugar (75g)
2 tbsp calvados
Beat the butter and sugar together, then add the Calvados, press into ramekins and chill until ready to serve spooned over your warm mince pies.