(Something vaguely like) Mincemeat for Mince Pies

After having a bash at making my own pastry for mince pies last year (though that post dates from March, no idea who I thought would be making mince pies at that time of the year), this year the problem to be solved was mincemeat.

Alien to France, as is the suet which is the main ingredient, I thought I might as well have a stab at making my own after having been given some ready-to-roll pastry courtesy of a cooking class where they told us how bad it was to buy the prepackaged stuff and we all should make our own all the time. Still, waste not want not!

I couldn’t find any candied-peel, wouldn’t have used a whole bottle of brandy, wouldn’t have used a whole pack of almonds, couldn’t find currants, and suet is non-existent here, so the recipe search was… interesting. In the end I assembled a random assortment of likely-sounding ingredients and tossed them together. Its resultant appearance looks something like chutney, and it reminds me a bit of apple crumble pie filling, just with a bit of a kick. Feel free to add more orange or lemon juice, or indeed liqueur, before draining at the end.

If my scenario sounds up your street, or you just want a veggie-friendly mincemeat, read on…

5 large apples (about 1kg), peeled and chopped – plus chop 2 or 3 strips of the peel, do what you like with the rest

250g / 1 cup brown sugar

250ml cider (I reckon you could also substitute apple juice, but thought I’d go with it given how cheap cidre is here and also as I was giving the brandy a miss! I used doux or sweet to be precise)

2 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp cinnamon

80g butter

1 tbsp lemon juice

Zested rind and juice of 1 orange

300g mix of sultanas and raisins

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp creme de framboise (raspberry liqueur)

  1. Dissolve the sugar in the cider in a big saucepan
  2. Add the chopped apples and the bit of chopped peel, stir then add everything else apart from the last two ingredients (vanilla and liqueur)
  3. Simmer, uncovered, for 45-60 minutes until the apples are squishy. Squish them about a bit.
  4. Add the extract and/or liqueur. At this point my mix was still very liquid so I drained quite a bit of liquid off into a smaller saucepan through a sieve (this also helped with the squishing process). I could easily have left it simmering for quite a bit longer  before adding the liqueur to help squishing and de-liquidifying, but the kitchen was about to close as the kitchen does here.
  5. Place the resultant mixture into a tupperware, or glass jars (especially if you’re not going to use it in the next few days). This made 650ml of mixture plus another 200-300ml or so of liquid which I’ve no idea what to do with! Any ideas, please bung them below 🙂

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