My family and especially my other half love mince pies, well, anything that contains mincemeat to be honest and last year my mincemeat crumble slice was a huge hit. To the point I was making it on request a couple of times a week, it became my gift as we attended friends and family over the festive season. But for those with restricted diets finding good shop bought mincemeat can be a challenge.
Traditionally mince pies contained meat and not the best meat, so spices and fruit were added along with spirits to add flavour and the dish became more of a sweet rather than savoury dish. Now-a-days the shop bought mincemeat uses vegetable shortening rather than beef suet, but I wanted to make a version that doesn’t use as much fat or added refined sugars it also needed to be totally plant based. I decided to make my own with the fruit that I liked, as I am not keen on candied fruit peel and almost every jar of mincemeat I picked up in the store contained it. So, thinking cap on a little research and to the kitchen to have a play and see what I could come up with. Because I wasn’t going to be using the suet I needed to make sure the mincemeat stayed nice and moist, so I decided to use chopped apples in its place which would break down whilst cooking and medjool dates. After a few attempts I have a mincemeat I love, we can all eat and best of all got a thumb’s up from the family. The recipe is below, feel free like myself to change the ratio or choices of dried fruits.
Makes 2 x 500 ml jars
3 red apples chopped in to chunk about 1cm
2 large oranges zest and juice
2 tbsp maple syrup
Zest unwaxed lemon
5 medjool dates ( you can use other dates but these are the best as they are still beautiful and soft and full of flavour)
400g mixed fruit of your choice I used
80g dried cranberries- to add a sharpness and festive flavour
80g dried apricots chopped
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp nutmeg
1 ½ tsp mixed spice
¼ tsp ground cloves
2 tbsp Brandy
Place all the ingredients into a large pan and heat on a low heat until apples are soft, the fruit has plumped and the liquid has almost been absorbed by the fruit. Stir occasionally. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little. Transfer the mix to a food processor and pulse until you have your desired consistency. Decant into clean jars. This can be used immediately or stored until needed. If you make this in advance and store the flavours infuse more and become more intense. Decanted in pretty jars along with a recipe for mince pies or mincemeat crumble slice make a fabulous ‘homemade with love’ Christmas gift for a budding baker in the family.