It never feels like Christmas is close for me until I’ve had my first mince pie; they are an absolute essential in making me feel festive and I love them. While I enjoy most mince pies, shop bought or otherwise, as with most things you just can’t beat homemade ones, and if you do make your own then you get the bonus of festive baking, which always helps to put me in a Christmassy mood. If you are going to go through the effort of making your own (and they really aren’t that much effort at all), then you might as well make your own mincemeat too – again, homemade is so much better than shop bought.
Mincemeat is incredibly quick and easy to make yourself, and you get to choose what fruits and alcohol you include – don’t like mixed peel? Substitute with chopped dried apricots. Not a fan of brandy? Use rum, port or sherry instead. Feel free to chop and change the recipe below to suit you, just keep the same basic quantities of everything (ie. swap an ingredient out for the same weight of another) and it will work out just fine.
Mincemeat traditionally contains suet (a throwback to the disturbing days when it contained actual meat…), which means that it isn’t exactly vegetarian friendly. Vegetable suet is available but it doesn’t taste very nice, the good news is that mincemeat can be made with butter, which tastes far superior. Suet based mincemeat is made by simply stirring all of the ingredients together then ladling into sterilised jars, to use butter you need to go through the extra step of heating the ingredients together in a pan, but it’s not like that is difficult or time-consuming so this version is still really quick and easy to make.
Once jarred, the mincemeat will keep for six months, possibly even a year; and it does taste best if given a month or so to mature before using. That said, it does taste great freshly made as well, which is good seeing as there is only less than two weeks, TWO WEEKS!! until Christmas (I wasn’t organised enough to make it any earlier…).
Speaking of jars, aren’t the ones in the photos lovely? They are made by Ball Preserving, and if you would like a chance to win some then I am giving away a Ball home preserving starter kit worth £19.99! Just enter using the Rafflecopter widget at the bottom of this post for your chance to win.
- 175 g currants
- 175 g raisins
- 175 g sultanas
- 175 g dried cranberries
- 100 g mixed peel
- 120 g butter cubed
- 220 g light brown soft sugar
- 50 g almonds chopped
- 1 large bramley apple peeled, cored and grated
- 1 1/2 tsp mixed spice
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1 orange finely grated zest and juice
- 200 ml ruby port
Sterilise 4 370g jars and lids (or 5 slightly smaller ones) by washing in hot soapy water, rinsing well then placing them in a low oven until dry.
Place all of the ingredients apart from the port into a large pan, heat gently, stirring, until the butter has melted then simmer very gently, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat and leave to cool until just warm then stir in the port. Divide the mincemeat between the sterilised jars, seal, and store in a cool place for up to six months.
Adapted from a recipe by Mary Berry.
I was sent some free products but I was not paid to write this post and all opinions are my own.
Ball home preserving starter kit giveaway:
Terms & Conditions
- Closes at midnight (BST) on Tuesday 20th December 2016.
- Aged 18+
- UK residents only.
- The prize will be supplied directly by Ball.
- The winner will be notified by email within 48 hours of the closing date. They will have 28 days to claim their prize otherwise an alternative winner will be selected.
- Only one entry per person.