Made now, mincemeat has plenty of time to develop richness, before being dolloped into pastry cases to make delicious mince pies.
Makes approximately 1.7kg
450g Bramley apples, cored
2 tbsp mixed spice
1 cinnamon stick
¼ nutmeg, grated
250g shredded suet
200g cut mixed peel
700g sultanas and raisins
50g flaked almonds
230g dark brown soft sugar
zest of 2 oranges
zest of 2 lemons
4 tbsp brandy
pinch of sea salt
Grate the Bramley apples into a large saucepan. Add the mixed spice, cinnamon stick, nutmeg, suet, peel, salt, sultanas and raisins, almonds and sugar, stirring after each addition. Add the orange and lemon zest, and stir thoroughly. Simmer on a low heat, mixing occasionally, then pressing down to flatten, for 10-15 mins until thick and glossy, and the liquid covers the mixture. Mix in the brandy.
Sterilise five clean 340g jars by filling them halfway with just-boiled water. Leave them to stand for 5 mins. To sterilise the lids, immerse them in a bowl of just-boiled water for 5 mins. Carefully pour the water away, using oven gloves to hold the hot containers. Allow jars and lids to air dry thoroughly.
Fill the sterilised jars with the mincemeat and fix the lids on straightaway. Leave to cool, then store in a cool, dark place for 6 weeks or until needed.
• For a cherry alternative, replace half of the sultanas and raisins with dried cherries and 50g of the suet with finely chopped marzipan.
• For cranberry and orange, substitute the sultanas and raisins with dried cranberries and use the zest of 4 oranges instead of 2 oranges and 2 lemons.
• For apricot mincemeat, replace half of the sultanas and raisins with finely chopped, dried apricots.
More Christmas preparation recipes in the November 2018 issue of LandScape magazine...
Traditional Christmas cake
Chocolate fruit cake
Orange and cinnamon Christmas cake
Apricot and sherry Christmas cake