Sweet Mincemeat ..................
- 450g Bramley or Granny Smith apples cored and chopped onto small pieces, no need to peel.
- 220g Shredded Suet (No suet here) or freeze 220g of butter and grate that into the mixture
- 1 kg mixed dried fruit - rains, sultanas, currants, sultanas, cranberries
- 220g mixed candied fruits - chopped
- 350g soft dark brown sugar
- zest and juice of 2 oranges
- zest and juice of 2 lemons
- 50g sliced almonds
- 4 level tsp mixed spice
- ½ level tsp cinnamon
- good pinch of grated nutmeg
- 6 tbsp Brandy
All you do is combine all the ingredients, except for the brandy, in a large mixing bowl, stirring them and mixing them 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 the flavours have a chance to mingle and develop. After that 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 ages in a cool, dark cupboard - I have kept it for up to 3 years. Vegetarians can make this mincemeat happily, using vegetarian suet. And if you don't want the full quantity, make half.
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. I use a baby bottle steriliser which I picked up at a car boot sale.
What to make with the mincemeat........................
Mince Pies or Tarts
Line small tart baking tray with pastry (your own or ready prepared)
Fill each tart with a spoonful of the mincemeat and top with circle or star of pastry - cook at 180 (see photo below)
You could make a larger tart and serve warm with cream or brandy butter.
Make a basic shortbread mix
Sift 6oz plain flour into a bowl. Add 2oz caster sugar and 4oz butter cut into small pieces. Rub in with the tips of the fingers until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Knead the mixture together to form a fairly firm dough. Turn out on a lightly floured surface. Knead gently.
Press the mixture into a 11 inch by 7 inch shallow baking tray. Spread over 8oz of your homemade mincemeat.
Bake in a moderate oven - 180°C for 25mins.
Cool in the tin. You could top with stars but I always used to drizzle some glacé icing over the mincemeat and then cut into squares.
Beat together 4oz sifted icing sugar with 1 tbsp water and a hint of lemon juice.
Follow this link to find a really good fruit loaf. Mary Berry's Mincemeat Cake
I have been making these cakes throughout the year with mincemeat I made last Christmas. Eat one Freeze one!