Home-made Christmas Mincemeat

Come October when the apples from my old Bramley apple tree in the garden are needing to be picked, I think of making Christmas pudding and mincemeat.  I do also think of apple pies, apple sauce, stewed apple with sultanas to have with yoghurt for breakfast but I think of mincemeat because it has become a tradition to use a home grown apple in the mincemeat and the pudding.  Whilst a bought apple  would be just as tasty – and indeed this home-made mincemeat is soooo much better than any you can buy – it’s nice to think that amongst all that plump dried fruit and exotic spices there is something that comes from my garden

Making  your own mincemeat is really easy and fills the house with wonderful smells   Your mincepies will always be plumper than anyone who uses the bought stuff because you can put so much more of it in the pastry without worrying about it all leaking down the sides as it would if you filled the shop bought stuff to the same level!   It isn’t just for mince pies either – I always keep a jar back to make the best hot cross buns at Easter   I use it to stuff baked apples or to top a steamed pudding   A jar of it makes a great Christmas present for a December hostess.  If none of those options appeal to you you can easily just make half the quantity given here

I use vegetarian suet so that the vegetarians I know can eat it too   And I use whisky rather than brandy as a nod to my Scottish past  I don’t much like candied peel so I substitute chopped dried apricots for the candied peel and use lots of freshly grated orange and lemon juice instead!  You can make your own substitutions to tailor it to your particular likes, but for my family this is what we like the best and it’s no trouble at all for us to eat the dozen mincepies between Christmas and New Years as per the tradition to ensure the twelve happy months ahead!  Indeed certain members of the family like to ear at least twice that and insist that makes them doubly lucky throughout the year!  No names mentioned but you know who you are!

Ingredients (makes 6x350ml jars)

450g Bramley apples, unpeeled and chopped small

250g vegetarian shredded suet

350g raisins

300g sultanas

100g currants

225g dried ready to eat apricots, finely chopped

50g chopped glacé cherries

350g dark brown, soft sugar

Zest and juice of 2 oranges

Zest and juice of 2 lemons

4tsp mixed spice

1tsp ground cinnamon

A whole nutmeg, grated

8tbsp whisky (I use Famous Grouse as it was my father-in-laws favourite and you don’t need a single malt for this)


  1.  Combine all ingredients – except the whisky!! – in a large bowl.  Stir well, cover with cling film or a clean tea towel and leave overnight of for 12 hours
  2. Heat oven to 120c/gas mark 1/4 or use bottom oven of 2 door Aga
  3. Remove cling film or tea towel and cover bowl loosely with foil and put in oven for 3 hours
  4. When you take out mincemeat and remove foil it will be swimming in suet fat.  Don’t panic. This is exactly how it should be. Stir it from time to time as it cools so that the fat coats all the fruit and allows the mincemeat to keep
  5. When cool, stir in whisky
  6. Put in sterilised jars and seal.


For a recipe for mincemeat that doesn’t use suet see Quince and Cardamon Mincemeat



    • rosiecub says:

      You can replace the suet with unsalted butter if you wish. When cold the mincemeat will look cloudy but when baked in a mincepie it clears and tastes delicious. Remember that mincemeat made with butter doesn’t keep as long as that made with suet

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