With Christmas just around the corner, it’s time to get that itchy festive jumper on, crank up the carols and get baking for the big day. I love this time of year as you can fill the house with delicious smells of fresh citrus and warming spices. A great recipe that you can make now and forget about for a couple of weeks, is delicious luxury mincemeat for homemade mince pies. Studded with plump vine fruits, mixed citrus peel, a good splash of brandy, toffee-like dates, matchsticks of crisp apple and a mountain of fresh citrus zest to create Christmas in a jar. Once the mincemeat has been made, it needs to mature for a few weeks, which makes it great to make now to give jars away as Christmas gifts. This recipe is suitable for vegetarians and vegans as uses vegetable suet.
With a lot of zest to prepare, I used the Limited Edition Neon Yellow Premium Classic Zester from Microplane to make easy work of all the oranges and lemons I needed to zest. I’ve been a big fan of Microplane for many years, even hunting them out in New York on holiday when they weren’t as available in the UK. What I love about them is that not being stamped out like normal graters, they are photo-etched so are super sharp and stay sharp for so much longer, as well as making jobs like zesting fruit a dream as well as using on spices, as I did on a whole nutmeg for this mincemeat for a much fresher flavour.
I also used the new Microplane Adjustable V-Blade Slicer to make light work of turning my lovely sharp Bramley apples to perfect matchsticks in seconds with the super-sharp julienne-style slicing deck blades, as well as turning into a mandoline with the reversible deck and thickness dial for paper-thin to chunkier slices. Thankfully with a hand guard to protect your precious fingers so you can work through you’re prep in no time!
Both make the perfect stocking filler gifts for the foodies in your life, or indeed a treat to yourself!
Equipment You'll NeedPrint
Makes Enough Filling for 30 Mince Pies
- 175g Soft Brown Sugar
- 125g Vegetable Suet
- 200g Raisins
- 125g Sultanas
- 75g Dates, chopped
- 50g Prunes, chopped
- 75g Mixed Peel
- 50g Flaked Almonds
- ½ tbsp Mixed Spice
- ¼ tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 1/4tsp Fresh Nutmeg
- 2 Bramley Apples (approx. 220g), julienne or grated
- 1 Lemon, zested with Microplane grater and juice
- 2 Oranges, zested with Microplane grater and juice
- 2tbsp Orange Liqueur
- 175ml Brandy, extra for maturing
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, suet, dried fruits, mixed peel, almonds, spices and citrus zest. Using the Microplane Adjustable V-Blade Slicer, julienne the two Bramley apples including the skin but careful not to include any core, mix into the spice fruit mixture until combined and no pockets of dry ingredients.
- Pour over the lemon, orange juice and orange liqueur over the fruit and leave to stand for 30 mins for the fruit to start to plump up.
- Transfer the mixture between two 1 litre Kilner jars, that have been sterilised and evenly top up the jars with the brandy. Seal the jars and leave in the fridge for at least 3 weeks before using, as long as the jars are kept chilled they can stay maturing for up to a year. Every week a couple of tablespoons of extra brandy to help the mincemeat to mature. When ready to make your mince pies, you’ll be welcomed with the pure smell of Christmas in a jar.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Home Preserving, Christmas
- Method: Home Preserving
- Cuisine: British
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