Greetings from a greyish Seattle! I’m slowly beginning to get into the holiday spirit, and have just started to think about Christmas recipes. I decided to make some mincemeat first, as it takes about a week to mature and for all the lovely flavours to mingle. Just in case you are unfamiliar with mincemeat, it doesn’t contain any actual meat. The original recipe from centuries ago contained suet and shredded meat, but these days most mincemeat recipes are meat free. It’s actually just a mixture of dried fruits and alcohol. Some traditionalists still use suet, but I always make  mine vegetarian. There are some ingredients (mixed peel), that I couldn’t seem to get here, so I substituted with a few different fruits that I could get locally. I found some delicious wild blueberries and sweet red cranberries, and used them instead. As soon as I had everything together, I started to weigh my ingredients. To my horror, I discovered my weighing scales are broken! So, I actually had to use my American cups for the first time. I guess I must be settling in.

The magic of this mincemeat for me is the Irish whiskey and over a few days, it really brings all the elements together – the apple, the brown sugar, and all the wonderful dried fruits. This mincemeat is a basis for lots of different desserts. It tastes great mixed with vanilla ice-cream, in a festive mince pie or in a crumble.

Ingredients

  • 2 Cooking apples
  • Zest from one lemon and one orange
  • Juice from one lemon and one orange
  • 2 tablespoon orange marmalade with thick peel
  • ½ cup raisins/ sultanas
  • ½ cup of golden raisins
  • ¼ cup of dried blueberries
  • ¼ cup of dried cranberries
  • 2 and 1/2 cups of soft dark-brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon
  • Sprinkle of nutmeg
  • 40ml Irish whiskey

Method

Pre heat the oven to 350°F. Core and bake the whole apples in the pre heated oven for about 45 minutes. Leave to cool, and once cool enough to handle, remove the skin and mash the apples into a pulp. Place the mashed apple  in a large bowl.
Using a zester, zest the lemon and orange and add to the apple. Squeeze the lemon and the orange and add the juice to the bowl. Next, add the marmalade, dried fruit, sugar, spices and whiskey. Combine together by mixing with a wooden spoon. Place the mincemeat mixture into clean sterilized jam jars. Leave to mature for about a week in the fridge. After a week, you are ready to use this delicious mix for any number of recipes…mincemeat ice –cream, mince pies, mince crumble. This mincemeat will store for about three months in the fridge. Next week, I will have a recipe for yummy mince pies.

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