Mincemeat – it goes back a long way…
About thirty years ago a friend convinced me that homemade mincemeat was the best. She was not wrong and pointed me in the direction of Delia Smith https://www.deliaonline.com/. Yes of course I had a Delia Smith cook book (well four actually), seriously who didn’t back in the 80s? I loved that book, I never had a failure from it! However, I did adapt and ‘improve’ a little and put my own spin on certain recipes. But in the main, we have Delia to thank for this delight.
The origins of mincemeat
I love the origins of the mince pie too. The ingredients for the mince pie we know and love can be traced back to the return of the crusaders from the Holy Land. Middle Eastern methods of cooking (which sometimes combined meats, fruits and spices – Heaven forbid!) were popular at the time. Pies were created from such mixtures of sweet and savoury foods (I am not sure about that either!) In Tudor England, shrid pies were formed from shredded meat, suet and dried fruit. The addition of spices such as cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg was, ‘in token of the offerings of the Eastern Magi.’ During the English Civil War they were banned, on account of its connection with Catholicism. Crikey! The hubster would never have survived. I also believe it is ‘bad luck’ to refuse a mince pie (I avoid being offered one) and… you should always make a wish as you bite into the first one of the season.
Everyone loves a mince pie… well nearly everyone
They are well-loved in our household. My son loves them with an almond paste/marzipan top. The hubster just loves them! Fortunately (or unfortunately) I DON’T. Anyway, here is my recipe for homemade Christmas Mincemeat:
The equipment you will need:
- 450g cooking apples, peeled cored and finely chopped
- 225g shredded suet http://www.atora.co.uk/
- 350g raisins
- 225g sultanas
- 225g currants
- 225g ready mixed chopped peel
- 350g dark, soft brown sugar
- Grated rind and juice of 2 oranges
- Grated rind and juice of 2 lemons
- 50g ready chopped almonds
- 4 teaspoons mixed spice
- Half a teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Half a teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 120 ml brandy
What to do:
Mix all the ingredients (except the brandy) in a mixing bowl. Put the bowl into a preheated oven 120oC for three hours.
Fill your house with the amazing Christmassy aroma.
After three hours remove from the oven and allow to go completely cold – then stir in the brandy. Fill some clean, sealable jars or plastic containers.
It makes this much! Enough for probably 100 mince pies! It will keep for a very long time. Yes, it is a faff but it is definitely worth it. Savour the Homemade Christmas Mince Pies!