Every year for the last six years Alex asked me if I would make him mince pies. Every year I was mean and said no. They are plentiful back in the UK and were on sale all the time. The thought of that brown fruit mixture totally turned me off. I could not wrap my head around eating the stuff. It is just not part of the American Christmas tradition.
Now that we live in America there are no mince pies to be found. Alex loves them so much that I said I would make them for him from scratch this year. I didn’t look very hard but I didn’t see any already made jars of mincemeat anywhere. I did enjoy the process of making my own and I even had a taste.
Raisins, sultanas and currants are traditional components of mincemeat but I chose a recipe that also incorporated a heft amount of citrus, apples and hazelnuts (which gave a nice texture contrast to the soft fruit). The mixture still does not look all that appealing to me but if you love brandy and raisins then you will really enjoy this filling. I made my own candied peel from scratch because I also couldn’t find this at the store.
Early mincemeat contained meat but modern versions only include fruit. It is traditional to preserve the filling with suet (which is beef fat) but since I decided to make this last minute I couldn’t track any down. I used butter instead so the mincemeat can be refrigerated for up to one month or frozen.
Tomorrow’s post will be putting the mincemeat to good use in mince pies. For those not familiar with the British classic you can find out what a mince pie is!
zest and juice of 2 lemons
zest and juice of 2 oranges
2 granny smith apples
100g (12.5 tbs) unsalted butter
100ml brandy (2 mini bottles)
200g raisins (about 2 cups, not packed)
150g golden raisins (about 1 1/2 cups, not packed)
150g dried currants (about 1 1/2 cups, not packed)
150g candied peel, chopped (about 2 cups)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
175g light brown sugar (3/4 cup + 1 tbs)
50g toasted hazelnuts chopped (1/3 cup)
- In a large saucepan place the zest and juice of the oranges and lemons. Peel and core the apples. Grate the apples into the citrus juice (so they don't brown).
- Add the brandy, butter, raisins, golden raisins, currants, peel and spice. Cook over a low heat for 1 hour, stirring frequently. The apple should be broken down, the liquid absorbed and the dried fruit plumped up.
- Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Once cooled stir in the sugar and hazelnuts. Spoon into sterilized jars and refrigerate for up to one month.
This includes substitutions for American ingredients. American cup measurements are approximate. Click to see original British ingredients.
adapted from Delicious