Friday, 16 December 2011

Mince Pies Part 1 - Mincemeat

I hate Christmas. There you go I said it out loud. It's over-hyped it’s too commericalised, too expensive and really just for children. But, I do love eating all that food being the hog that I am! Although I don't like the traditional fare of turkey, brussel sprouts, Christmas pudding etc, only because it's the same every year. It would be nice just once to have goose or duck or something different...Malcolm are you getting the HINT.....? :-)

This year I am going to the outlaws for Christmas and was going to make piccalilli but didn't realise that it took so long to mature. So I have decided to make mince pies. I was going to cop out and buy all the ingredients and just put it all together, but then I thought no, you talk about food, so you should really make it all from scratch.

I am writing the mince pie recipe in two stages because I am also making the mincemeat, which is very easy, but you should marinade it for at least 12 hours before you cook it. It is also good to keep it stored in a dark cupboard for as long as possible so the flavours have more time to enhance.

There are a lot of ingredients but apart from the brandy (optional but it does help the flavour) all you do it throw them all together, mix it and leave it to stand for 12 hours before cooking. How easy is that?

The mixture of sultanas, currants, raisins and candied peel is up to you, depending on what you prefer. In our local Waitrose supermarket I found a 500g bag of a good mixture of these ingredients, with very little candied peel, which is fine for me as I am not a fan.

  • 500g mix of sultanas, currents, raisins and candied peel
  • 225g Bramley apples
  • 175g dark brown sugar
  • 110g shredded suet (you can use vegetable suet)
  • grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • grated zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 25g ground almonds (optional)
  • 2tsp mixed ground spice
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
  • 5tbsp of brandy (optional)

You will also need 3 x 350ml jars or 1 x 1kg jar. To sterilise preheat the oven to 120C, wash the jar(s) in hot soapy water then rinse in clean water. Dry off with kitchen paper (do not use a tea towel) then place in the oven for 5 minutes. Take the jar(s) out to cool down. Do this before you are ready to store the mincemeat.

Put all the ingredients (apart from the brandy) into a bowl that can eventually go into the oven and mix together. Place the mixture in the fridge for at least 12 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 120C and place the bowl in and cook for three hours.

Once cooked let the mixture cool down, mixing occasionally as this will help mix the suet into the mincemeat to help it stick together.

Once cooled down add to your jars and keep in cool dark place until needed. You can of course use the mixture straight away.

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