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3 of the best mincemeat recipes for Christmas

06:28 08 October 2015

Mincemeat ready for Christmas.

Mincemeat ready for Christmas.

Archant 2014

Mincemeat is one of the staple ingredients in my Christmas larder.

How ever busy I am, if I can get my Christmas cakes, puddings and mincemeat made in November, I do. With a huge sigh of relief it’s something I can tick off that long Christmas list – and they are much better for being made ahead of time, with a few weeks to mature.

Mincemeat is one of the staple ingredients in my Christmas larder. Of course for mince pies, small and large, but also for that extra special something to add to my Christmas recipes: Instead of dried fruit in a bread and butter pudding; as a layer of Christmas between the apples and the pastry in a tart Tatin, or in a flapjack recipe.

Mincemeat recipes have the benefit of having the fruit marinated in booze, more traditionally whisky or brandy. But to give a new dimension to my favourite recipes this year, I have used a plum liqueur made by the Norfolk Sloe Company, of Fakenham, a family business started by Patrick and Emily Saunders in 2011. They produce a wonderful selection of liqueurs full of fruit gathered in north Norfolk;


My favourite mincemeat

This recipe makes a more traditional, rich, citrus-flavoured mincemeat, full of fruit. I use beef suet from my butcher, you can use boxed brands of beef or vegetarian alternative, but just remember these are often dusted in flour, which will absorb some of the wonderful juice and give you a drier mix. Once I have prepared the ingredients, I cook it slowly in a roasting tin in a warm oven to soften the apple and enhance the taste. This works brilliantly in the simmering oven of the Aga, although you may need to add extra time.


Makes 12 x 250g Jars


240g raisins

160g sultanas

160g currants

50g mixed peel

50g ready to eat prunes, chopped

240g soft dark brown sugar

160g beef suet or shredded vegetable alternative

450g grated cooking apple

Finely grated rind and the juice of two oranges and two lemons

50g chopped flaked almonds

50g chopped hazelnuts (or add more currants)

4tsp ground mixed spice

2tsp freshly grated nutmeg

120ml plum brandy or brandy


Place all the ingredients except the brandy in a large bowl and mix well, cover in cling film and stand somewhere cool overnight. The following morning pre-heat the oven to 120C/Gas mark ½.

Pour the mincemeat into a large roasting tin, cover with foil and cook for about two hours. The apples and suet will soften and the colour darken.

Remove the tin from the oven, cool, then add the brandy, stirring well. Spoon into sterilised jars and store somewhere cool.



Apple, pear and ginger mincemeat

This makes a lovely tart filling, with sliced pears over the top, glazed with a little marmalade.


350g Bramley apples, peeled, cored and grated

450g pears, peeled, cored and grated

350g raisins

300g sultanas

300g currants

75g stemmed ginger, chopped into small pieces

zest and juice of three oranges

220g marmalade

250g demerera sugar

½tsp ground cloves

2tsp ground ginger

2tsp nutmeg, grated

100g flaked almonds, chopped

250g beef or vegetable suet

100ml plum brandy, brandy or whisky


Make and cook this as you would the traditional mincemeat recipe (it makes the kitchen smell lovely and festive as it cooks!)


Cranberry and apple mincemeat

A good friend gave this recipe to me; she often uses this for the filing for baked apples, tipping a little maple syrup over them before they go in the oven.


1.2kg mixture of sultanas and raisins

300g dried cranberries

Zest and juice of three oranges

Zest and juice of an unwaxed lemon

500g Bramley apples, grated

300g beef or vegetarian suet

300g golden caster sugar

200ml Cointreau

1½tsp ground mixed spice

1½tsp ground cinnamon


Mix the sultanas, raisins and cranberries in a large bowl. Add the zest and juice of the oranges and lemon into the dried fruit, then the grated apple (stirring well to stop the apple going brown) followed by the suet, sugar, Cointreau and spices. Stir to mix thoroughly.

Leave to stand for a few hours, covered with a tea towel, returning to stir the mincemeat regularly.

If you are making the mincemeat to use within a couple of weeks, it will keep well sealed in a plastic container. If you want to store it in jars to keep for longer, fill sterilised jars, seal and store in a cool, dark place.


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