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It's a good idea to start the night before when making fruit mince, so all the flavours will be given a chance to develop. If you can also make it a few weeks before it's required, you'll find the flavours will be even better.
- Zest and juice of 2 lemons
- Zest and juice of 2 oranges
- 225g apples, unpeeled, cored and chopped (cooking apples are best)
- 225g candied citrus peel, cut into small pieces
- 450g cranberries
- 50g slivered almonds
- 350g raisins
- 225g sultanas
- 225g currants
- 350g brown sugar
- 4 tsp mixed spice
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- 225g suet, shredded (available from your butcher)
- 6 Tbsp brandy, dark rum or whisky or a mixture of all
- Stir and mix all the ingredients together very thoroughly indeed then cover the bowl with a clean cloth and leave the mixture in a cool place overnight or for 12 hours, so that the flavours have a chance to mingle and develop.
- After that pre-heat the oven to 120°C, then place the mixture in a lidded casserole dish then in the oven for 3 hours. (Fermentation used to be a problem with mincemeat because sometimes the apples gave off too much juice, which would then ferment and bubble over during storage. In this method the suet is rendered down to a liquid fat, which then coats all the fruits, including the apples and cranberries, and seals in the juices.) This way, you'll never have any problems with storage.
- When you remove the mincemeat from the oven, it will appear to be swimming in fat. Then as it cools the fat will coagulate and give the mincemeat a dull appearance. This is how it should be and in no way affects the flavour. As the mincemeat cools, stir it from time to time; the fat will coagulate.
- To prepare the jars for the mincemeat, follow the directions for Sterilising Jars for Preserving.
- When the mincemeat is quite cold, stir in the brandy.
- Pack into the clean, dry jars, cover and seal. It will keep in a cool, dark cupboard indefinitely, but I think it is best eaten within a year of making.
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