Kitchen Hoarder Mincemeat

Nov 21, 2012 by

During my recent kitchen makeover I had to clear out my cupboards and drawers.  What a revelation that turned out to be.  I found various uncashed cheques to the tune of €250 as well as jars of jams, chutneys and a tin of vegetable soup with a best before of 2003.

The best find of all was a huge jar of mincemeat that could be either last years or the previous one.  I opened it and sniffed.  Wow  – the most amazing smell wafted out.  Like a really good dessert wine combined with a brandy and Calvados.

This got me thinking about a comment I read on Twitter criticising the practice of making a Christmas cake or pudding two months before eating it.  This really amazed me considering some of the best food and beverages are eaten after long periods of maturation. I have a Christmas pudding in the fridge from two years ago and once that is boiled up again I know the flavour will be sublime.

Which gets me back to the mincemeat. If the jar is a year old then I can’t claim the recipe.  That honour has to go to Margaret at Oldfarm.  Her recipe uses lots of cooking apples which normally at this time of year would not be a problem.  However, this year I had the worst crop in living memory so I will be using my own recipe.  It’s actually two recipes I joined together and it works really well.

It helps if you mature it for at least a year or at least the next few weeks before the longing comes on for some mince pies.  And what must mince pies be served with only champagne or a glass of dry white wine. Try it……

75g dates stoned and chopped
250g currants
250g raisins
250g sultanas
75g cherries
100g candied peel
75g chopped almonds
75g unsulphured dried apricots chopped
4 tablespoons of brandy
150g butter
1 large cooking apple grated
zest and juice of an orange and lemon
150g muscovado sugar
some freshly grated nutmeg
1 cinnamon stick
5 whole cloves

Mix all the ingredients with the melted butter and cover. Leave in a large bowl overnight somewhere cool.  Next day spoon into clean jam jars and cover tightly.

If you don’t like a particular ingredient leave it out or substitute with something else. 

This quantity will give you 3-4 large (500g) jars, enough to keep a couple for next year.

Tags: Irish Food  Irish Christmas Baking  Mincemeat  Mincepies

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