Best mincemeat recipe for mince pies and puddingsPosted by Fiona Nevile in Christmas, Desserts | 108 comments
Mince pies are the quintessential Christmas treat. But every year loads of us bite into a proffered mince pie and resolve never to accept one again. it’s a shame as nothing beats a homemade one, bursting with mincemeat and a slug of brandy. I always make a few on Christmas Eve. I was pretty smug about them until Anne Mary mentioned that she always made her own mincemeat. I’m embarrassed to admit this but five years ago I didn’t know that you could make your own. I rushed home and thumbed through our cookbooks, convinced that it would be a complicated grinding, sieving, mincing process. It’s not. It’s really easy.
There was one major drawback, most of the recipes that I found produced mincemeat with a short shelf life. The apples often start to ferment after a couple of months. I didn’t want to make just the one jar or a batch to give away labeled “Unstable contents. Eat me within two months as I might explode”.
Then I struck gold, Delia Smith’s ‘Complete Illustrated Cookery Course’ includes a recipe that solves the fermentation problem. We have tweaked it over the years and now just stick to the original with one exception. We replace the candied peel (we are not fans) with halved glacé cherries (we’re addicted to these). We add the cherries with the brandy when the mincemeat comes out of the oven and has cooled down. Delia’s mincemeat recipe is simple to make and absolutely delicious. Luckily she has published the recipe on her website and the link is here.
Great mincemeat is not just for mince pies at Christmas. Delia has a lot of recipe ideas for puddings on her site that are worth checking out. Danny stuffed cooking apples with a jar of mincemeat that he found loitering in the fridge. Baked for for 40 minutes in a moderate oven they have become one of our favourite puds at this time of year.
Tips and tips:
- If you are pressed for time you can adapt shop bought mincemeat by adding a small handful of halved glacé cherries and sultanas soaked overnight in brandy. Always add a teaspoon of brandy to shop mince pies. The best shop bought mince pies are the luxury ones from M&S and Waitrose.
- Update November 2009:
- As Delia says the mincemeat has a really long shelflife. I opened a jar from our 2006 batch tonight and it’s fine!
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