Since I was very young I can remember helping my Mum make mincepies each and every Christmas. They were one of the things I was allowed to help make, and I always looked forward to helping out. Now the mantle has been passed to me, so to speak, as I know make them myself but they have to meet the approval of Mum. This year we changed the tradition up a bit and for the first time made our own mincemeat. I followed a Delia Smith recipe but next time I would increase the spices, and I have reflected this in the post. I know its the weekend before Christmas and many people will be rushing around getting ready but if your not, why not stay at home, away from the cold and snow, and make a batch of these and get in the Christmas mood. Thats exactly what im going to do anyway.
Amended from “Delia Smith’s Christmas”
450g Bramley Apples, cored and chopped small (no need to peel)
225g Shredded Suet
225g Mixed Candied Peel, finely chopped
350g Soft Dark Brown Sugar
Zest and Juice of 2 Oranges
Zest and Juice of 2 Lemons
50g Slivered Almonds
6 Tsp Mixed Spice
1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
6 Tblsp Brandy
1. Except for the Brandy, combine all the ingredients in a large ovenproof bowl and mix together thoroughly.
2. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and leave in a cool place allowing the flavours to “mingle” for about 12 hours.
3. Preheat the oven to 120C, cover the bowl loosely with foil and leave in the oven for 3 hours (this is so that the suet melts and coats all the ingredients so that it keeps better, if using immediately im not sure this would be necessary)
4. Remove the bowl from the oven. It will appear to be swimming in fat but this is as it should be so dont worry. As the mixture cools give it a stir every now and then so that it evenly coats all the fruit. When the mixture is cold stir in the brandy.
5. Pack in clean dry jars. If you are not using this straight away seal with wax discs, they will keep indefinitely but Delia suggests it is best within a year.
Over the years we have used many different pastry recipes but now we use this wonderful recipe,
the total of which would make about 50.
1. Lightly grease your mincepie trays and set aside.
2. If you divided the pastry into 3 keep them in the fridge and only take out one amount at a time. Roll out the first piece of pastry on a well floured surface and roll nice and thin. Using a round, plain or fluted, pastry cutter cut out as many rounds as you can and line your trays, repeat with the second amount of pastry. Fill these with your homemade mincemeat. (the trimmings can be re-rolled but will need to rest a while in the fridge first).
3. Now comes the family tradition/secret with your leftover almond paste from the previous post. A number of years back when we had some of the paste leftover my Mum had the idea of adding a little to each mincepie and they were so good we have done so ever since. Just a small round is added to each pie before adding the top layer of pastry.
4. Roll out the last third of pastry and using a smaller pastry cutter cut out rounds and cover your mincepies. Prick the tops of each pie with a fork and brush with a little milk and the sprinkle with sugar.
5. Bake in a oven preheated to 170C for 10-15 mins, just until the pies have taken on some colour. Allow to cool in the tray until you can handle them and serve warm. These freeze very well and are okay to defrost in the microwave.