Updated: May 21
My mincemeats are currently cooking away (see Part 1) so I thought I'd use this time to share my recipes for this years flavours. For those that have not read part 1, I am making two mincemeats this year. The first is slightly more traditional, Pear, Hazelnut & Brandy, the second a little more unusual, Pomegranate, Pecans & Dark Spiced Rum. Each batch makes roughly 6x 340ml jars, or two 1ltr kilnar jars.
I normally start my mincemeat in early November so it has time to mature, but I've made it as early as the start of September before. I would aim to make it at lease a month before you want to start making mince pies however to give it time to develop some flavour. You need two days really to make this, but it's really easy and well worth the time when Christmas comes and you can make your own mince pies with your own mincemeat. (Recipe to follow closer to Christmas).
MINCEMEAT ONE -Pear, Hazelnut & Brandy.
For a more traditional mincemeat replace the pear with brambles apples and hazelnuts with almonds.
450g pears, any variety will do (skins left on, weight does not include the core so buy a couple more than you need)
225g suet (I use veggie, but you don't have to)
350g dark brown sugar
200g mixed peel (if you don't like this sub it for more sultanas or even apricots)
75-100g toasted chopped hazelnuts (I like mine nutty)
Juice and zest of 2 oranges and 2 lemons
10g mixed spice
5g nutmeg, freshly grated if possible
5g ground cloves
30ml Hazelnut liqueur (optional)
MINCEMEAT TWO - Pomegranate, Pecan & Spiced Dark Rum
250g Bramley apples
200g fresh pomegranate seeds (you can buy these on their own packaged from the supermarket or buy the fruit yourself and remove the insides yourself
200g dark brown sugar
150g pomegranate molasses (you will find this in the speciality section of the supermarket)
200g chopped dates
75-100g chopped pecans
Juice and zest of 3 oranges and 1 lemon
10g mixed spice
2 star anise
1g peppercorns (can add a little more for a little more kick)
5g ground cloves
120ml Spiced dark rum
Once you have decided on which mincemeat to make. Weigh out all of the dried fruit, spices, sugar, molasses (if using), nuts and suet and place them in a large oven proof bowl.
Add the zest and the juice of your lemons and oranges to this, then chop or grate your apples/pears leaving the skins on and add this along with any other fruit that you are adding. The juice of the lemons and oranges will help stop the fruit going brown. Mix very well. Cover with a few layers of foil and seal well. Leave your mincemeat somewhere cool for 12-24hrs to soak up all the juices. Don't add the spirits, we're saving that till it's all done
The next day set your oven to 100-120 degrees C (212-250 degrees F) and place your mincemeat in the oven for 3hrs. After 1.5hrs - 2hrs take it out and give it a good stir, you'll find that the suet in the centre has not even begun to melt yet. Place it back in the oven for the remainder of the time.
In the meantime wash and sterilise your jars and lids. You can do this in a couple of ways but I find the best way it to put them through a hot cycle in the dishwasher (failing this give them a good soak and wash in hot soapy water), you can then pop them in your oven once you remove your mincemeat for around 15-20 minutes. This will kill any bacteria left after the wash (especially if you hand washed them) but also dry them out. Pop the lids loosely on top till you are ready to use them.
Once your mincemeat is done take it out of the oven and give it another good stir. It'll take a few hours to cool completely and we want to stir it regularly in this time, about once every 30 minutes. This stops the suet setting on top, we want it to set and coat all of the fruit, so that it keeps once we jar it up.
Once your mincemeat is cold, you can stir in the alcohol, which not only adds great flavour but it helps preserve your mincemeat. If you decide to use a different sprit, make sure it is 40% alcohol. Anything less than this will not be strong enough to preserve it.
Fill each jar with your mincemeat, a funnel really helps at this time, as it can be a little messy. Place wax disks on top if you have them, but don't worry too much if you are going to eat it this Christmas, I rarely bother. Screw the lids on well for smaller jam jars. Your mincemeat will keep for ages unopened, it only gets better with age, i've used mincemeat that is over three years old before, it's just important that the lid is on good and tight. In a month or two it will be ready to bake into mince pies, traybake, cake, steamed puddings, sweet bread, yum! Once opened it can be stored in the fridge for around 6 weeks.
If you don't like the spice combinations in these recipes, feel free to mix it up a little. I've used lots of different spices in the past such a cardamom and ginger, or just stick with good old mixed spice for simplicity. Hope you enjoy making it.