Seven years ago, I decided to have a go at making 'real' mincemeat. I saw it on a TV show and thought oooh yes. I love fruit and meat together so why not? I also detest most shop bought mincemeat so I thought making my own would make sense.
Thanks to a lovely lady called Barbara who transcribed the recipe from the River Cottage TV show for me I got started.
Here it is.
1kg lamb mince
Generous slosh of apple cider brandy (I used a good cup’s worth)
Mix these together (making sure to break up the mince - as he says, you don't want mini hamburgers in the middle of the pies!)
- 1kg dark brown sugar
1/2 kg raisins ( I sub sultanas as I really don't like raisins)
1/2 kg diced Cox's apples
A cup and a half of suet
Mix these in to the mince
Then he added his personal touches:
- 1/2 cup of mixed peel (I chopped this as finely as I could, as I hate bits of peel)
1 tsp grated orange zest
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 cup of chopped Medjool dates
4 heaped tsp mixed spice
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- A good grate of nutmeg.
I also added in a cup of chopped glacé cherries.
Mix all this together really well, and leave for at least a week. I made some pies with it at the time and it was nice, then I packed it away in the fridge and, quite literally, forgot about it.
Seven years on and it’s STILL ABSOLUTELY FINE. I mixed in a good few tablespoons of dark rum as it did need more liquid, and then made Mediaeval Pies with it.
The Pastry by my friend Sue, though you can use whatever pastry you like.
- 185g plain flour
95g caster sugar
30ml water (you will probably need much less than this - just use it to bind it together).
Mix the sugar and flour together, add the egg. Add the butter and work until it’s at the fine crumb stage. Bring together with the water.
I used these amounts:
- 370g plain flour
- 190g butter
- 190g caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 50 ml water
I will say that it made a very, very soft pastry, so I worked in more flour until it got to a rolling consistency then put it in the fridge overnight. It was a dream to roll out once it had warmed up a bit! Next time, FAR LESS WATER!
It is a very short pastry, almost like a shortbread in texture.
They ended up as flying saucer shapes because I didn’t have proper pie pans, and they are actually far easier to eat that way!
Apologies for the formatting here, I have no idea what’s going on!