Every December, this happens
1. I go to a nice Christmas lunchy event somewhere.
2. The food is really good.
3. Then they bring the coffee and mince pies. And the mince pies are, generally, not so good. Too much mincemeat or too much pastry or everything too heavy or… Something.
4. I think, I could do a better job of a mince pie than this.
5. I go home and look up mince pie recipes in my cookery books.
6. I realise that if I had made mincemeat in November then yes, I could probably make a better mince pie than the one I had at lunchtime.
7. I resolve to make my own mincemeat next year.
Except that this year -I REMEMBERED! I can’t quite convey how excited I am about the fact that I remembered.
I made mincemeat.
And it was easy and I am pleased with myself out of all proportion.
Here’s what I did.
Stephanie’s slightly random mincemeat recipe
I took 1100g of dried fruit. 200g of this was mixed peel, 200g was chopped apricots, and the rest was made up of bag-ends of sultanas, raisins, dates, dried figs…. I chopped the bigger things up and put them all in to a bowl.
I coerced a passing family member into peeling and grating half-a-dozen sharp eating apples. ( I think some were Cox’s Pippins and some were Granny Smiths.) There was probably about 450g of grated apple in total. I put it in the bowl too.
I realised I was going to need a bigger bowl. I duly decanted my ingredients into a bigger bowl. (You could skip this step.)
I stirred the fruit around and added 200g of suet, 200g of ground almonds, and 175g of Demerara sugar.
The family member had escaped by this point so I had to grate the zest of a lemon and add the juice myself.
Then came the fun part. I went to the spice shelves and came back with nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, vanilla extract, cinnamon extract, ginger extract, lemon oil, and I stirred bits of all of these things in until my nose was full of Christmas. I followed up with a good glug of whisky (for the bowl, not me – it was early).
I took a load of jars and I sterilised them by filling them half full of water and putting them in the microwave until the water had been boiling for a couple of minutes.
I squished and squooshed the mincemeat into the jars.
And then I was done.
Now all I need is to give it a month then make mince pies with it.
If you get organised this weekend, you could do the same. (Or you could make a note in your diary to come visit sometime in mid December. There will be a LOT of mince pies to get through. I’m assuming they will be worth the effort.)