Mincemeat for Mince Pies and Mince Tarts

Unimpressed by the ready-made mince pies I find in the US, our family’s collective yearning for a good mince pie this holiday season led me to try making my own mincemeat from scratch. And now that I have gone through all that effort, expense and time? well, I’m never looking back! It’s easy yet a little time consuming but the rich melt-in-your-mouth and warm-your-heart flavors are so worth it I cannot urge you more to try and make your own. What’s more, it can last up to 3 years properly canned and stored. Next week I’ll post the recipe for mince pies maybe even mince tarts with easy do-it-yourself pastry. Now I can’t wait for the holidays!


  • Difficulty: time consuming
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1 lb Granny Smith apples, peeled and finely chopped into approximately 1/4 cubes
8 oz of grated suet / beef tallow (see my resources page for meat and meat products)
12 oz of raisins
8 oz of golden raisins or sultanas
8 oz of dried currants
4 oz of candied lemon peel, finely chopped
4 oz of candied orange peel, finely chopped
12 oz of soft dark brown sugar
Juice and zest of 2 oranges
Juice and zest of 2 lemons
3 oz of slivered almonds
2 teaspoons of pumpkin spice (ground cloves, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg)
4 tablespoons of brandy/cognac
Preserving jars

Prepare all your ingredients (peel, slice, grate, chop, juice, etc.)
Combine all the ingredients thoroughly, except for the brandy/cognac in a very large metal or glass mixing bowl
Cover the bowl with a cloth and leave overnight or 12 hours or so for the flavors to develop
Preheat the oven to 225°F
Cover the bowl loosely with foil
Place in oven and cook gently for 3 hours
Remove from oven, stir
As the mixture cools down, stir from time to time to combine all the ingredients evenly
When the mixture is cook, stir, add the brandy and stir very well
Add mincemeat to your sterilized jars
Seal and process
They will keep for 2 to 3 years in a dark and cool place

Take a look at  my resources page for sourcing some of the amazing ingredients I used in this recipe.

You can use vegetarian alternatives to suet if you prefer but honestly, though it may not look very appetizing, using the real thing is absolutely worth it for this seasonal treat.

Adapted from Delia Smith.

© 2014-2015 Caroline’s Family Kitchen and CarolinesFamilyKitchen.com


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