Quince and Cardamon Mincemeat

Last year I posted a recipe for Home-made Christmas Mincemeat and was asked whether it was possible to make mincemeat without using suet.  At the time I suggested replacing suet with butter which works very well.    Last week I was reading Nigel Slater’s recently published “The Christmas Chronicles” (a great book and a wonderful Christmas gift idea for anyone interested in cooking) when I came across a recipe for quince mincemeat jumped out at me.  It doesn’t use suet – or any fat at all – so not only would it be ideal for those who don’t want to use suet but it would be great for vegans too.  I have to admit that I have poached the quince differently to that in Mr Slater’s recipe as I think using spices in the poaching liquid gives a better flavour and allows you to use the cooked quinces in many different ways but, other than that, the rest is the same. The recipe for my  Poached Quinces is here

It is true that this recipe doesn’t result in a traditional mincemeat in so far as it’s more the consistency of a conserve.  There is a real plus if you make this though, as you can not only use it as a filling for mince pies but it also works well as an accompaniment to cheese and cold cuts

If you haven’t got a quince tree in your garden you can often buy quinces from an Italian Deli or farmshop.  Quinces do seem to take a bit of work to find as they seem to have fallen out of favour in this country.  Should you take the plunge and make this though I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.  It’s worth noting that when you put this into the jars at the end there is quite a bit of liquid but this is sucked into the fruit as it cools.


Ingredients (makes 3-4 jars)

  • 2 quinces or 8 quarters and 400ml of poaching liquid from the Poached Quinces recipe
  • 8 pods of green cardamon, freshly ground
  • 1tsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 200g sultanas
  • 200g raisins
  • 200g currants
  • 200g ready-to-eat dried apricots, chopped finely
  • 100g soft light brown sugar
  • 100ml brandy or quince liqueur



  1. Sterilise 3-4 400g jam jars by washing and putting in oven set at 140c for 5 mins and turning off heat till needed
  2. Crush open the cardamon pods and grind the seeds in a pestle and mortar quite finely
  3. In a large saucepan put in the ground cardamon, mixed spice and cinnamon and dried fruit together with 400ml of quince poaching liquid
  4. Add the brown sugar and simmer, stirring occasionally for 30 mins
  5. Chop the poached quinces quite small and add to the pan together with the brandy/quince liqueur
  6. Simmer for a further 5 mins before spooning into and sealing in the sterilised jars.



  1. Love that this is so versatile– I’ll have to see if my library has Nigel Slater’s Christmas oookbook. I really like the idea of serving it with cheese… thanks or the recipe/ideas!! xo

  2. Pingback: Seasonal Musings and Recipe ideas – Casa Montalto site

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