Cranberry, pineapple, cherry and nut mincemeat

mincemeat.jpg

I’m very chuffed that this recipe (and its sister recipe of Mince pies – with orange frangipani) is being displayed by Wren’s Kitchens on its Wren’s Christmas Kitchen


I have a confession: one that my seem a bit weird given that this is a recipe for mincemeat, but bear with me…

I hate mincemeat.

Actually, to be specific I hate shop-bought mincemeat. That’s because those jars of mealy sultanas and raisins just aren’t up to scratch compared to good homemade mincemeat rich in the best dried fruits. I’m clearly a mince pie snob.

This goes all the way back to a teeny tiny me who tasted her first ever mince pie one Christmas. Ughh – it tasted as appetising as I imagined the plastic tray on which it sat would. Yuk. This put me off totally and I never tried another mince pie until I was a shinyΒ  graduate in my first job and was handed a homemade mince pie from a keen jam and preserves maker in the office. I was goaded into trying one after protesting I didn’t like them, and of course I was very pleasantly surprised. I set about finding a recipe to tweak and adapt and then made my own mincemeat every year to match my own tastes. It was around then that I also started making frangipani-topped mince pies (please see my recipe for these)

frangipanimincemeattarts

This mincemeat is rich in the berry and citrus flavours I like and has the added crunch of a few chopped nuts. And, given that I first started making my own mincemeat in my early twenties and now (whisper it) I’m in my forties, this has been honed down to perfection.

If you decide to tweak any of the ingredients yourself (I hope you try the exact recipe first, as I think it’s a corker) you could then start a tradition of making your own favourite mincemeat year on year πŸ™‚

Notes

  • Although I am not veggie, I do use vegetarian suet – I simply think real suet is not needed in desserts
  • Makes 3 jars’ worth (most recipes make too much I think)

Equipment

  • Large bowl
  • Saucepan
  • Sterilised jars – see my recipe on lemon curd for how to sterilise
Ingredients
  • Sultanas – 50g
  • Raisins – 50g
  • Dried cranberries – 50g
  • Dried, finely chopped dates – 50g
  • Dried, chopped pineapple – 50g
  • Smallish, sharp apple, like a Cox’s Orange Pippin – 1
  • Vegetarian suet – 65g
  • Chopped mixed nuts – 50g
  • Allspice – 1 teaspoon
  • Nutmeg (freshly grated is best) – 1 teaspoon (or thereabouts if you’re grating)
  • Cinnamon – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Cherry juice – about 80ml* (depends how wet the mix is)
  • Orange juice – about 80ml* (depends how wet the mix is)
  • Optional – cherry brandy or kirsch – 3-4 tablespoons (don’t use if giving the mincemeat to children. You can divide the mix and use alcohol in one half of it if you prefer)

Method

  • If using alcohol: put all the dried fruit in a bowl and macerate with the alcohol for a couple of hours or even overnight before going on to the first step
  1. Peel, core and finely dice the apple and immediately put in the bowl (either mix in to the alcohol-soaked fruit or pour over the cherry juice to stop the apple browning)
  2. Put all the rest of the ingredients in the bowl and mix lightly together
  3. Add most (about 90%) of the fruit juices and test to see how thick it is
  4. If the mix is really thick add a little more of the juice. The consistency should be like a really thick pickle/chutney
  5. Transfer all the mix to the saucepan and heat over a medium setting until all the suet has dissolved
  6. Let it simmer for no more than about 3-4 minutes (it’s not a jam it doesn’t need to reach a set point or boil for a set amount of time)
  7. While it simmers, get your sterilised jars ready on your counter or table, lids off
  8. Take the saucepan off the heat and immediately pour/spoon into the sterilised jars and pop the lids on. Please be careful – you can get scalded
  9. If you have sterilised your jars thoroughly the mincemeat will store for many months
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