I thought I hated mince pies. Really and truly couldn’t stand them. They were just a bit too soft, a bit too stodgy, a bit too bland and then there were the crunchy bits. Urgh.
Before I swore off them for good, however, I thought I ought to have a stab at making my own mincemeat. And it is night and day. Night and ruddy day. This recipe has no nuts (so no suspicious crunchy bits), heaps of juicy fruits (you do yours) and lashings of booze. It sounds like a jolly good Christmas to me!
500g seedless raisins
200g dried cranberries
1 tub French glacé cherries
3/4 bag dried apricots
2 tbsp soft brown sugar
3 tsp mixed spice
3 tsp cinnamon
75ml apple juice
50ml dark rum
50 ml brandy (or as much as you dare!)
Don’t stick too rigidly to the fruit weights; just use whichever size of bag they come in, or whatever’s lying around in your cupboard. And you can add your favourite dried fruits, miss things out and replace others – this is just how I like it!
1. Finely chop the cherries drop them into a large bowl. This is a sticky job which requires much patience! I really think they make the difference though in creating a really luscious filling for your pies.
2. Add in the raisins and cranberries….
6. Add in the sugar and spices then mix well. Add the juice from the oranges, half the apple juice and the booze, then give everything a really good stir.
7. Cover with cling film and leave everything to soak up for a day. Mix again the next day, adding more apple juice (and brandy) once the first lot has been largely soaked up. Repeat for the next 2 days and then allow to sit for another couple of days, stirring daily. In terms of total liquid, there should be a few inches in the bottom to give you a nice gooey caramel around your fruit when you make your pies.
Pie recipe to follow after the weekend!
This will change Christmas forever!