Thursday, 20 December 2018

December 20th and Mixing Mincemeat recipes...............

................ is not always a good idea!

When I found a recipe for Cranberry and Apricot mincemeat I thought it would be really nice to make for hamper gifts and to use for mince-pies - as a change from the usual Delia recipe. Especially as I planned to make a Cranberry and Apple Christmas Chutney so would be buying dried and/or frozen cranberries anyway.

This is the Delia recipe that I've used for several years - I usually just do half the recipe as it makes a lot


1lb cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped small.
8oz Shredded suet - I always use Vegetarian Suet
12oz Raisins - chopped
8oz Sultanas
8oz Currants
8oz Chopped candied peel
12oz Soft dark Brown Sugar
Grated zest and juice of 2 Oranges
Grated zest and juice of 2 Lemons
2oz whole almonds, cut into slivers ( I just use flaked)
4 teaspoons mixed ground spice
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Grated Nutmeg
6 Tablespoons Brandy

Mix everything together  EXCEPT the brandy  in a large ovenproof bowl. Cover with a clean cloth and leave for 12 hours or overnight.
Next day cover the bowl loosely with foil and put in a cool oven Gas ¼, 225F (120C). For 3 hours.
The reason for this is to melt the suet so it coats all the fruit with fat, sealing in the juices and this will stop the apple fermenting which can be a problem.
Remove the bowl from the oven and it will be swimming with fat - don't worry.
As it cools, stir from time to time. When it is completely cold stir in the brandy.
Pack in clean dry jars and seal.
Keep it in a cool dark cupboard and it will keep for a year.

This is the CRANBERRY AND APRICOT MINCEMEAT recipe found somewhere online

500g Mixed Raisins, Sultanas and Currants
140g Dried Apricots
85g Dried Cranberries
85g Mixed Peel
150ml Brandy
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Zest and juice of 1 orange
175g suet
100g fresh or frozen cranberries
200g soft brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg

Put all dried fruit and peel into a bowl, pour over brandy, zest and juices.
Stir cover and leave for 24 hours.
Tip everything into a saucepan and add remaining ingredients.
Warm gently over medium heat until suet is melted.
Turn up heat and bubble for a few minutes.
Pack into sterilised jars,

I rarely follow a recipe exactly so.................
What I did................
The half a tub of mixed peel that I had in the cupboard turned out to be nearly a year out of date and looked very pale and nasty so I used double the cranberries instead. I used 200g of  (vegetable) suet as that's how much there is in a packet and otherwise I would have been left with a box with a tablespoonful left in the bottom which would never get used.
I then followed the Delia method and mixed everything together EXCEPT the brandy, covering and leaving for 24 hours. Next day I warmed the bowl in the oven until the suet melted and left it to cool before stirring in brandy and putting into sterilised jars.

It looked lovely BUT I realised that the reason the second recipe cooks everything is to make sure the cranberries are cooked. After using some to make mince-pies and doing a taste test I found the new mincemeat is delicious but the apricots ought to have been soaked and maybe cooked a bit too as they were a bit chewy. I don't think I can give it away so will use it up quick and make a big supply of mince-pies...and when I offer them around I'll need to explain that the chewy bit are apricots and not something worse!

Here's some pages from another book from my shelves........ "The Ladybird Book of Christmas Customs"

Back Tomorrow


  1. If I have mincemeat to use up, I often make this cake.
    Delia did a cranberry mincemeat one year (no apricots) That was quite pleasant.

  2. The ' Delia ' mincemeat works if you add the brandy first as I've done several times before when I've not been thinking!!

  3. Angela and I have the same idea about using up mincemeat! My late MIL used to use it up in fruit slices with added dried fruit to soak up some juice. I like the idea of the cranberry one too. Thanks as always, Sue, for inspiration.

  4. You live and learn! That now recipe sounds really lovely and, with a few adaptations, it will be fine, I'm sure. I do love the Delia one though.

  5. I used to love mince pies but they no longer agree with me - so I just make them to give away now using bought mincemeat! I put Apricots in my Christmas cake as I don't like candied peel - not noticed them being chewy though - perhaps no one else will notice in your mincemeat.

  6. I confess I have never made mincement, I say I am going to do it every year but never do. I could eat mince pies all day long.

  7. I used to make a all fruit mince with no suet or fats that was (I'm told) delicious. Living in CA means I used old vine zinfandel wine (sweet & a little spicy) to soak the diced, dried fruits for up to 48 hours before cooking. I used dried apricots, cranberries, cherries, dates, raisins, currents, etc... pour enough wine to cover the fruit, cover the bowl and refrigerate, taking out to stir at least once per day for 2 days. I then poured it all into a pot, added a small amount of sugar + some spices, a bit of orange zest and juice, brought everything to a boil and let simmer until the liquid thickened. Chopped or flaked nuts can be added before cooking. This year, though, I've made fruitcakes with all dried fruits. Delivered some to the neighbors last night. I get so many good ideas from your blog, Sue!

  8. Thank you for the lovely recipes. I will have to fiddle with them a bit to convert to Canadian measurements and ingredients. Do you happen to know what is in mixed spice, I haven't seen it here. Having my first mince pie of the season is the start of Christmas for me.

    1. Just googled it and it says it's similar to Pumpkin Pie Spice used in the States or "Four Spices" in France. Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice,hint of ginger and cloves.

  9. Here in Maine, mincemeat pie traditionally is made from deer meat (only fancy people call it venison here) and since childhood it's never been a personal favorite. I'm intrigued by the vegetarian options.

    1. Lynn - here in the UK we have 2 different terms "minced meat" - which can be beef, pork, lamb, venison... Any animal. And then we have this traditional Christmas food called "mincemeat" which has NO meat in it at all - it is very sweet, sugar, dried fruits and spices, cooked together with fat (traditionally suet) and used to fill small pies or tartlets. Back in tudor times, the pies were oval shaped like a cradle, with a small piece of meat resting on top of the fruit. This was meant to represent baby Jesus in the manger. In the 1600s these were frowned upon (a bit cannibalistic) So they became round in shape and the meat was omitted. But the name mincemeat has remained. I've met other Canadians who've been confused by this quirky British food!

  10. Right, the traditional Christmas mincemeat pie IS made with meat here: deer meat and suet mixed together with the fruits and spices that you use without the meat (one big pie, not the cute little tarts you do). It is very traditional and old school and rural, not often seen nowadays as the old ones who got their deer every fall and used it up are slowly dying out. For me, the idea of Christmas mincemeat pies made without meat is a new one - we don't have that here. What you call mince whether it be beef, port, lamb, deer meat, chicken or turkey, we call ground.

  11. You have some really lovely books in your collection!

    I admit that I haven't made mincemeat for years. Perhaps next year I shall add it to the 'list'. I love mince pies! They are a great treat at Christmas.

  12. I enjoyed reading about your mincemeat making.. I have to admit I have never had any and I'm 69 years old.. but I live in Oregon USA and it's popularity never made it to this far west. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

    *M*E*R*R*Y* * *C*H*R*I*S*T*M*A*S*!*

  13. Umm...just about to post my today’s blog about shop bought mincemeat. Reading this I am now determined to stop being a lazy legs and make my own. Sue your recipes sound delish! Too late for this year...