This mincemeat recipe is really easy to make, less cloyingly sweet and non-suet. I’m feeling virtuous already about the way my Christmas diet is going.
The first of December, what better time to prep some mincemeat. We simply lurve mince pies in our household. I have no problem batch baking them well into January and beyond, usually using up the last of my over eager purchases of M&S mincemeat. However, I find shop-bought, even the more deluxe brands, too sweet. Mistakenly, I’d always thought that homemade was too hassly. Not so with this mincemeat recipe…
Nothing could be easier than homemade mincemeat. It’s a case of plonk fruit in pan, simmer and jar. Nothing as worrying as jam making and getting out thermometers or muslin, let alone maslin pans! I raided my store cupboard and found various dried fruits (you can play around with the mix of fruit to suit your taste). Instead of regular brandy, I opted for an Italianate twist as I didn’t have lemons to put in (more traditional); I opted for orange and the Limoncello more than made up for lack of real lemons. It gave a gentle bitter-sweetness to off-set all that dried fruit with its intense sugar.
Here’s to the start of festive fare. But if you’re not a mince pie fan, stay with me as I’ve two recipes coming up before Christmas that use mincemeat in alternatives ways – one sweet; one savoury (after all, in Tudor times, mince pie meat was meat!).
Limoncello Mincemeat recipe: All images © Liz Ayling 2013
- 275g dark brown sugarprint button transparent
- 275ml cider
- 1kg apples, cored, peeled and diced
- 200g raisins
- 200g sultanas
- 200g currants
- 150g dates
- 100g blanched almonds, chopped finely
- 50g blanched hazelnuts, chopped finely
- juice & peel of 1 small orange
- 6 tbsps Limoncello (or use Cognac, or omit altogether if desired)
- Place the cider and sugar in a heavy-based, deep pan and heat gently until sugar has dissolved.
- Add the apples first, stir and leave to cook down a little (5 mins) then add all the other ingredients except the alcohol, stirring them in well. Leave the lid half propped on and let it simmer gently for around 30 – 45 mins until the dried fruit and apples are soft and the liquid has reduced down to a small amount of thick syrup at the bottom of the pan. Ensure you stir the mix occasionally and check it’s not burning. Low, steady heat is a must.
- Stir in 3 tbsps of Limoncello or your chosen brandy etc. Leave to evaporate for 5 mins on a gentle heat. Turn off the heat and leave to cool a little. Then, add the remaining Limoncello and stir through.
- Decant the mincemeat into the sterilised jars; screw down lids or seal preserving jars. Keeps for around 2 months unopened at room temp., but place in fridge once opened.