This is my recipe for (a slightly less traditional) vegetarian, date and brandy mincemeat. Now firstly, I don’t actually know if anywhere else in the world has mince pies at Christmas, but in the U.K. they are a festive staple. Lots of people don’t like them, heaven only knows why, I think they’re bloody fantastic. Nothing says Christmas like a hot mince pie and a drizzle of double cream.
If you’re not familiar with the mince pie, it’s a small sweet pastry filled with mincemeat. (not to be confused with minced meat, that’s very very different) an ooey gooey mixture of brandy soaked fruit and beef suet. (Is it me or is this starting to sound like Rachel Green’s trifle?.. trust me, it’s delicious). I’ll be posting my mince pie recipe sometime next week, this recipe is just for the filling. It’s best that you make this recipe a couple of weeks before making the pies, the flavour will improve the longer you leave it.
The good news about this recipe is there is absolutely no cooking involved, although everybody has their own way of doing this. Some recipes will tell you to boil the brandy before soaking the fruit, some will say that cooking the mincemeat for hours on end before cooking it again in the pies is best. Personally I like it this way.
Traditionally mince meat uses beef suet, I substituted this for vegetable suet which is available at most local supermarkets. I also added dates, because I love dates and I think they should be in everything.
This recipe makes approximately 5 x 340g jars, and are perfect for edible homemade Christmas gifts.
- 500g mixed fruit (raisins, current, sultanas, mixed peel)
- 250g chopped dates
- 100ml brandy
- Zest of 1/2 a lemon, and the juice of a whole lemon
- Zest and juice of half an orange
- 200g shredded vegetarian suet
- 250g dark brown sugar
- 1/4 of a whole nutmeg, grated
- 1 teaspoon all spice
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 Bramley apple, peeled and finely chopped
PRIOR TO STARTING THIS RECIPE, STERILISE 5 x 340g JAM JARS IN A DISHWASHER ON THE HOTTEST POSSIBLE WASH.
- Soak the fruit and dates in the brandy and the citrus juice and zest for at least an hour
- Add the suet, the sugar and the spices, stir well
- Add the apple and mix again, making sure all the components of the mince meat are well dispersed, and there aren’t any lumps of sugar
- Transfer the mixture to the sterilise jars, pressing the mince meat into the jar, eliminating all of the air present. Cut a little square of grease proof paper and lay it on top of the jar before sealing the lid of the jar and storing in the fridge. This mincemeat will keep for up to six months in the fridge.