Very berry mincemeat

It seems hard to believe now,  but this time last year, I was making my first ever batch of pastry.

Yep – ever.

I was pretty new to baking, and after trying my first ever mince pies a couple of weeks before (yep – ever. I know; such a deprived child), I decided I’d like to make my own. The prospect of making mincemeat and my own pastry was far too daunting, so it was Asda’s own that went into my pies – and very nice they were, too!

My first ever mince pies, 2010 – I was going for the ‘rustic’ feel…

But after nailing pastry, and conquering my fear of pickling and preserving a few weeks ago with homemade chutneys for Christmas gifts, I’ve been looking forward to making my own mince meat – and more importantly, my first batch of crumbly, buttery, mince pies (drool) – ever since.

I was searching for a recipe that was a little lighter and juicier than your traditional mincemeat with darker dried fruits, and this one is adapted from a recipe from Good Food magazine.

I absolutely love the glorious jewel-like colours of the berries, those wonderful autumnal spices I’ve been wholeheartedly sprinkling in just about everything I eat – sweet or savoury- for the past two months, and the warming boozy kick.

I’m trying to hold December to make my first batch of mince pies this year – mainlyI will want to bake them every two days, and don’t want to put on a stone before Christmas has even started. But I’m not making any promises. Alex and I just tasted a spoonful and his exact words were:

‘MMMMMM. That’s the best mincemeat I think I’ve ever eaten. Bake some mince pies now…please?’

You have been warned…

Very berry mincemeat

Makes four 370g jars.

Ingredients

  • 225g sultanas
  • 200g raisins
  • 200g dried mixed berries – e.g. cranberries, cherries (I used asda’s ‘cherry berry’ mix)
  • 50g dried apricots
  • 100g mixed peel
  • 225g light muscovado sugar
  • 125g butter, cut me into cubes
  • 1 medium cooking apple, peeled and cored
  • zest and juice 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 200ml brandy/sherry or apple juice if you prefer

Method

  1. Put all the ingredients, except the alcohol, into a large pan and heat gently. Let the butter melt and simmer, very gently, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes.
  2. Allow to cool completely, then add the brandy, sherry, or apple juice.
  3. Spoon into sterilised jars (I share my way of doing it here), seal tightly, and store in a cool place.

It’s as easy as that!

Leave this for at least a day for the fruit to soak up the booze and the flavour to mature.

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6 comments

  1. Christine

    I’ve always been afraid of trying mincemeat, since I was under the impression that it had ground beef in it (but clearly not)!

    This looks really good — basically it’s just fruitcake ingredients in a pastry shell instead of cake batter… and I could totally get on that train! 🙂

    • Laura @ cakeandfeminism

      I think originally it did (weird!), but now it’s just as you describe – you can really experiment with it to get different flavours, and it’s so easy. You should definitely give it a go – mince pies are so delicious and guaranteed to get you feeling festive 🙂

  2. Kelly

    so what about the pastry recipe too?? every year I start again with a new recipe cobbled together from various sites because I can’t remember which I used last year and whether it was any good… I’m going for ground almonds, lemon rind, icing sugar… also I once read a recipe that said to put a small slice of marzipan (YUM!) in the bottom of the pastry case before you put the mincemeat in – I quite like that idea! x x

    PS everyone – I was lucky enough to get to try these mince pies and YES they were as delish as they look and sound 🙂

    • Laura @ cakeandfeminism

      I go for 250g flour, 125g butter, 1 egg, 2 tbsp sugar and a tbsp water to bring it together if needed – it’s Rachael Allen’s recipe, but I am up for experimentation! Considering increasing butter content to see if it’s more luxurious, but I’m far from an expert at pastry!!

      Glad you enjoyed them lovely 😀 xxx

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