I’m slightly amazed that I’ve managed to write a Christmas blog post. It’s our busiest time of year with private clients needing finishing touches of curtains and soft furnishing for Christmas and interior design customers frantically finishing checks on deadlines for their clients. Added to this we have 2 birthdays, wreath making workshops at Highgrove and Water Lane Workshops and Amberley Artisans thrown in to the mix!!
Poor old family have had to have a lot of shop bought mince pies so far (my Nanny would be positively spinning!) but I’ve pulled my finger out and made some mincemeat this weekend. I use a sort of hybrid recipe - a bit of a mixture of Delia, Sarah Raven and a few bits of this and that! I like to make lots because it’s a nice gift to take to people and it’s always useful to have plenty in if you want to knock up a quick batch of mince pies for unexpected Christmas visitors.
With this in mind, I thought I would share some mince pie ideas as well as the mincemeat recipe. Im fairly free and easy with my dried fruit in these, for example I don’t often have currants so I usually use a mixture of sultanas , raisins, dried apricots, prunes and figs, but feel free to do whatever you like; cranberries are good in there as are dried cherries.
Makes about 6-8 jars depending on the size of your jars!
500g of bramley apples grated coarsely
1kg dried fruit - I use a mix of sultanas, raisins, chopped up dried apricots, figs and prunes - make sure over half is raisins and sultanas and then fill up with the rest .
200g chopped mixed peel
50g whole almonds chopped up
4 teaspoons of mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
a few gratings of nutmeg
175g dark brown sugar
175g light brown sugar ( you can use one or the other I always mix both but it doesn’t make a massive difference)
zest and juice of 2 oranges
zest and juice of 2 lemons
About 6 tablespoons of brandy (I also add a couple of tablespoons of marsala or sherry or port or madeira - just because I like it!!)
220g suet (use vegetarian if you prefer)
Simply get a massive mixing bowl and mix it all together , and let it sit overnight with a tea towel over it. Then decant it into sterilised jars. (I put them through a hot wash in the dishwasher and then dry them upside down in the oven for about 10mins to sterilise) , label and you’re done!
My children love little tiny bitesize shortbread mince pies . And Mr H favours ones with marzipan stars on the top! My one top tip would be not to over stuff your pastry with mincemeat as it does have a tendency to bubble up and then if it spills over you end up with the pies welded to the tin - deeply frustrating !