No Mincing Around!
With less than 10 weeks to Christmas, this weekend is the perfect time to start thinking about your festive baking essentials. Deep, heady and boozy aromas that fill the festive kitchen are flavours only achieved through weeks, even months of maturing. The longer ingredients are left to infuse and develop, the more satisfying and fulfilling the end results are. Mincemeat is one primary ingredient of your yuletide baking which has to be paid the longest maturing time.
With its rich, boozy flavours, and festive notes of sugar and spice, mincemeat is at its best after an extensive period in hibernation. Locked away in sterilised jar with no interruptions for at the very least a couple of weeks, mincemeat is an extremely versatile ingredient essential to a successful Christmas pantry. Pre-made mincemeat can be bought so cheaply the attractiveness of making your own is sometimes hindered by time, effort and cost. But with still 9 ½ weeks to go, this is the perfect time to tick another job of the Christmas list! Not only helping with shortening the ever growing job list, the satisfaction you receive from popping that jar for your first batch of mince pies is something that can never be matched by supermarket mincemeat.
My recipe is so simple and easy you will never look at the shop bought kind again! Ideally, I would be making my mincemeat now for Christmas 2014, but who is really that organised? With a good two months to mature and develop, this suet based treasure is not only good for making your own sweet treats, but wrapped with ribbon and Christmas cheer, jars of this festive staple makes for the perfect little gift.
Changing the recipe to personal flavour preferences, the addition of stem ginger, cranberries and locally grown apples makes for an exciting and vibrant mincemeat sure not to be found in the supermarket. This recipe is relatively flexible so feel free to add or take out ingredients depending on your own preferences.
By the end of the month, my Christmas cakes will also be put to bed for storing and maturing, so be sure to come back and check out my latest recipe for a rich, boozy Christmas cake. But as not to scare you off with all this mention of the 25th, I will be returning to talking about the autumnal harvest for a couple posts yet!
- 600g Dried Fruit (any combination of raisins, sultanas and currants)
- 75g Cranberries
- 100ml Brandy
- 1 lemon (juice and zest)
- 2 Medium Bramley Apples (peeled)
- 200g Suet (Vegetarian replacement can also be used)
- 100g Stem Ginger
- Generous Sprinkling of Nutmeg and Cinnamon
- Place the dried fruit and cranberries in a bowl. Zest and juice the lemon into the bowl and pour in the brandy. Leave the fruit to soak up all the liquid – this could take up to 1 hour.
- Whilst the fruit is soaking, sterilise your jars either by placing in the dishwasher on a hot cycle, or simply filling the jars with boiling water. Leave for ½ hour before emptying, drying thoroughly and leaving to cool.
- Once the liquid has be soaked up by the fruit, grate in the apple, and add the remaining ingredients to the bowl. Stir thoroughly to ensure all the ingredients are combined, and the spices are evenly distributed. Spoon the mixture into the prepared jars, ensuring the mincemeat in tightly packed in with no air holes.
- Tightly place the lid on the jars and store in a cool, dry place for at least 4 weeks. Kept in the fridge, the mixture will keep for up to 6 months.