Sunday 3 November 2013

Apple whisky citrus mincemeat

A British Christmas wouldn't be the same without mince pies. Once upon a time these would actually have contained minced meat, with fruit and spices to disguise the fact that it was salted months earlier. Today mincemeat still contains suet, which is fat from around the kidneys of a cow (there is a vegetarian version, ptui). It is possible to buy fresh suet in France, which comes in lumps from the butcher (if he knows you he will keep some) for nuppence and can be grated. This is fine for a suet-crust pudding but I wouldn't like to use it for mincemeat.

Apple whisky citrus mincemeat ready for potting
Here's a recipe from Hilaire Walden's Sensational Preserves which combines a whole lot of lovely flavours. It needs at least six weeks to mature, so make it now in time for Christmas. These quantities yield five jars of standard jampot size, though where the pack size of the ingredient meant that there was only a little left, I lobbed the lot in. And of course I used our own filberts and apples.

At the beginning...Reinettes blanches
550g/1¼lb cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
15g/½oz unsalted butter
4 tablespoons water
85g/3oz almonds, blanched and chopped
85g/3oz hazelnuts, blanched and chopped
115g/4oz currants
115g/4oz cut mixed peel (aiguilles de citron /d'orange, chopped)
115/4oz dried apricots, chopped
225g/8oz raisins (I used jumbo golden raisins, which are gorgeous)
225g/8oz sultanas
115g/4oz suet
225g/8oz dark muscovado sugar
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
A pinch of nutmeg
150ml/5 fl oz whisky

Put the apples in a pan with the water and butter. Cook gently with the lid on for 20 minutes then stir to make sure there are no lumps. If the resulting purée is runny (i.e. you've used Bramleys), turn up the heat and cook, stirring all the time, until the mixture is quite stiff and all free liquid is gone. Allow to cool completely.

Mix all the other ingredients together in a large non-metallic bowl then stir in the apples. Mix until thoroughly blended and leave, covered of course, overnight.  At this stage, a gadget! The lid of this plastic bowl projects over the lip, sealing it completely. Thanks again LIDL!

Not that terrifying, surely?
Pack into clean dry jars, ramming down well to avoid air bubbles, and seal in the usual way. Store for at least six weeks before using.
What's the post called again?
Serve as a dessert with poached orange slices, or in pastries.


GaynorB said...

I love the sound of the citrus with the mincemeat. I'd better get cracking to mature it in time for Christmas!
I'd not really thought about the origin of suet before. I'll try to put it to the back of my mind!!

Pollygarter said...

Gaynor, if it gives you peace of mind, use vegetarian suet!

GaynorB said...

I think I just might. Mind you I've probably eaten plenty on the cows kidney stuff in my time!