Saturday, October 21, 2006

In preparation: Fruit Mince

I've just finished preparing this year's batch of fruit mince ready for the Christmas season. This will be my second year now, and I'm continually trying to develop the recipe for the right balance of alcohol, spices and suet. Next year's batch will be even better, I'm sure.

For some reason, I get a great sense of accomplishment after bottling my homemade fruit mince. It's not that hard though, that's the thing. I guess it's just the feeling of preserving, of sterilising the jars and making sure that everything is just right.

Just a quick note on the name. I've stopped calling it mincemeat. Just the thought of a mincemeat pie conjures up images of Aussie meat pies smothered in tomato sauce. I don't like thinking of that when preparing fruit mince pies at Christmas. From this day forward, it will be known to me as fruit mince.

Christmas Fruit Mince

Makes 2.7 kg (in other words, a whole bunch)

350 grams of seedless raisins
225 grams of sultanas
225 grams of currants
110 grams of mixed peel
110 grams of chopped dried prunes
350 grams of soft brown sugar
450 grams of cooking apples, grated
225 grams of shredded suet
Grated rind & juice of 2 oranges
Grated rind & juice of 2 lemons
50 grams of chopped almonds
50 grams of chopped pecan nuts
1 tablespoon of mixed spice
1 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
150 millilitres of brandy

Simply mix all of the ingredients together, except half of the brandy in a large ovenproof bowl. Cover and leave to stand overnight.

Next day, preheat the oven to 110ยบ Celsius, cover the bowl with foil and place in the oven for about 3 hours. Once cooked, allow to cool completely, then mix in the rest of the brandy and put into sterilised jars.

Allow to mature at least two weeks before using. Once sealed it may keep for up to a year.

- Last year I used animal suet, this year I've used vegetable. I think the vegetable will prove to be nicer, in the end, after preliminary tastings.
- This year the mix will be more citrus-y, so the quality of the fruits is definitely a factor.
-Be generous with the nuts, they are luxurious!
-Spice to taste. I love cardamom and cloves, not to mention the cinnamon.
-Go on... put a bit more brandy in ;)


Alanna said...

Good for you! This has always been on my to-do list, instead I'm still using up the jars from my mother's root cellar, years old but still seeming fine. (Hmm. Isn't that funny, I only just now realized why a root cellar was called a root cellar! For roots! For winter!) You must do fruitcake, too?

Bonnie said...

Oh what a treasure you have, Alanna! Maybe if you make some you can add to the store and let it mature just as long...? Do you still have her recipe? My fruitcake has been made, but is yet to be blogged... look out for it though!

miss cupcake said...

Pecan nuts,yummmm! I miss a northern Christmas in which one has more appetite for mince pies and plum pudding BUT it is not going to stop Guillermo or me ;-) we are still going to gorge on traditional X'mas fare when we go to Sydney this year. I'm even planning to bring some back to BA...for la famila.

Bonnie said...

Hi Miss C!

After so many Christmases in the sun at +30 temperatures, I now relish the Christmas climate in my new home. Somehow it just all makes more sense!

I hope 'la famila' like the traddy Aussie X'mas fare that you bring back for them - which is certainly not far off from the English version!

Anonymous said...

Regarding your comment about meat in 'mincemeat' pies, have a look at this historical food website.

Happy eating!


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