Posts Tagged ‘mince pies’

Traditional Mincemeat Recipe

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

I am winning with Christmas food preparations this year, which seems unbelievable considering how little time I seem to have to do anything at the moment;. I am running about one week behind last year.  However, as a man who cooks, I do actually find baking strangely therapeutic and calming at the weekend.  I think it gives me some peace and quiet, allowing my thoughts to settle themselves down after a hectic week at Steenbergs, and this week has been one of those business nightmare weeks.

So Christmas cake was baked 2 weekends ago, Christmas pudding last weekend and this weekend I have made a new batch of mincemeat.  I always make a mammoth sized Christmas cake and extra Christmas puds, giving one to my parents and another to some great friends of ours, both of whom deserve just a little something for their help during the year.  As for the mincemeat, I have usually made one that does not include any sugar as I feel the dried fruit, apple and juices are usually sweet enough, however after some gentle prompting last year, I thought I would try a more traditional version and add some sugar, which is what I did this morning. 

Basically, it is my normal mincemeat recipe with the addition of 250g / 8oz dark molasses sugar from Billingtons crumbled into it and a reduced amount of apple as it seems to ferment a little over time.  Still simple and easy, so my old recipe is now called the “No Added Sugar Mincemeat Recipe” and this will become our “Traditional Mincemeat” recipe.  It really is worth the effort making this as it is really just a case of chucking some ingredients together and leaving to develop flavour over the short time to Christmas.

Ingredients 

175g/ 6oz raisins (Organic and/or Fairtrade if possible)
175g/ 6oz sultanas (Organic and/or Fairtrade if possible)
250g/ 8oz currants (Organic and/or Fairtrade if possible)
85g/ 3oz chopped mixed peel
85g/ 3oz flaked almonds, toasted
125g/ 4oz eating apples (Cox’s are good), cored and chopped but not peeled
125g/ 4oz shredded suet (I  use Community Wholefood’s vegetarian suet, but Atora also do one)
250g / 8oz dark muscovado sugar  (Organic and/or Fairtrade if possible)
1tsp organic Fairtrade nutmeg powder
½ tsp allspice powder
½ rounded tsp organic Fairtrade cinnamon powder
Grated rind and juice of 1 orange (or 50:50 orange and lemon)
75ml/ 1/8 pint “good” whisky or brandy (I use Bruichladdich from Islay)

1.  If possible, use organic ingredients and/or Fairtrade ingredients, as they are good for the environment and the communities that grow the crops.

2.  Simply mix all the ingredients together and seal in a large tub, or ideally a bucket with a lid.

Ingredients For Mincemeat Weighed Out

Ingredients For Mincemeat Weighed Out

Mix The Dark Muscovado Sugar Into The Fruit And Nuts

Mix The Dark Muscovado Sugar Into The Fruit And Nuts

Traditional Mincemeat All Mixed Up

Traditional Mincemeat All Mixed Up

3.  Stir it once or twice in the maturation period – at the end of November and maybe mid December.  Pot it up into a couple of good sized Kilner-style jars on or about the 20th December.

4.  It lasts for a good 2 – 3 years, so don’t worry if you haven’t used it all in one Christmas period.  It is good to use in baked apples or to make a quick mincemeat tart for pudding anytime in the year.

Recipe For Homemade mincemeat – Countdown To Christmas

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

DSC_0652_edited-1Mincemeat is delicious and really easy to make.  The aroma and flavour of homemade mincemeat is fantastic, making the shop-bought commercial stuff pale into insignificance – a travesty of taste, lacking in depth, rich or any booziness.

It’s name harks back to it’s original recipe which used to contain a little bit of mince.  However it has now (thank God) dropped the minced meat and become a wonderful melange of exotic dried fruits, nuts and spices, together with some delicious whisky or brandy, creating an almost invigorating preserve.

The origins of the mince pie lie in the medieval chewet, which was a pastry that contained chopped liver or other meat mixed with boiled egg yolks, dried fruit, and spices.  By the 16th century, the mince  pie was a Christmas speciality.  During the 18th century and by the 19th century, meat was rarely used in the “mince” having been replaced by suet.  Note that I use a vegetarian suet but you can use a more traditaional beef based suet, such as Atora, but then make sure you don’t serve it to any vegetarians or vegans.

It’s simply a matter of collecting and weighing out the ingredients and then bunging them all together, giving them a good stir and leaving them to mature.  The key is getting the best quality ingredients and giving the mixture time to mature.  You should make it ideally 2 – 3 months in advance of Christmas, so mid to end of October to early November is spot on.  In fact, the best time may be mid-October as you can then pick apples direct from your garden; luckily we had a few still hanging on our tree of eating apples today, but then we live quite far north.

Ingredients

Getting the ingredients for mincemeat

Getting the ingredients for mincemeat

175g/ 6oz raisins
175g/ 6oz sultanas
250g/ 8oz currants
85g/ 3oz chopped mixed peel
85g/ 3oz flaked almonds, toasted
500g/ 1lb eating apples (Cox’s are good), cored and chopped but not peeled
125g/ 4oz shredded suet (I  used Community Wholefood’s vegetarian suet)
1tsp organic Fairtrade nutmeg powder
½ tsp allspice powder
½ rounded tsp organic Fairtrade cinnamon powder
Grated rind and juice of 1 orange (or 50:50 orange and lemon)
75ml/ 1/8 pint “good” whisky or brandy (I use Bruichladdich from Islay)

1.  If possible, use organic ingredients and/or Fairtrade ingredients, as they are good for the environment and the people who grow the crops.

2.  Simply mix all the ingredients together and seal in a large tub, or ideally a bucket with a lid.  I used a small bucket that used to contain raw cacao nibs from Barry Callebaut, the chocolatiers.

Mixing up the mincemeat

Mixing up the mincemeat

3.  Stir it once or twice in the maturation period – at the end of November and maybe mid December.  Pot it up into a couple of good sized Kilner-style jars on or about the 20th December.

4.  It lasts for a good 2 – 3 years, so don’t worry if you haven’t used it all in one Christmas period.