(Almost) According to Mary Berry: Mincemeat

Sometimes it happens that not all of one’s careful preparation can defeat the Real World.

My NaNo attempt continues to fail apace, and this week my careful planning for this blog also fell apart. Instead, I have Christmas plans afoot, starting with mincemeat, which I admittedly made a few weeks ago. The stitching of Christmas cards, though, has yet to begin. What’s that saying about the road to Hell being paved with good intentions?

Anyway, because of Mark’s aversion to dried grapes of any variety, normal mincemeat and mince-pies are out of the question. So this year I thought I’d make my own and dug up a recipe from Mary Berry.

And substituted the 525g of raisins, sultanas, and currants for blueberries, cherries, strawberries, and pears.

Mincemeat: Mary Berry

Really, a very simple recipe.

Put: 700g of various dried fruit (those above plus cranberries and some glace ginger), 100g mixed peel, 1 cooking apple, 125g butter/suet/cacao butter, 50g chopped almonds, 225g brown sugar, spices to taste (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, mixed spices), and the juice and rind of a lemon or lime in a big saucepan and heat gently until the butter/suet is melted. Simmer very gently for about 10 minutes.

Allow to cool completely, then stir in 200ml of your preferred alcohol: brandy, rum, sherry, mead. I used some Jack Daniels Winter Spice stuff.

Spoon into sterilised jars and keep in a cool place for up to 6 months. The sort of Christmas preparation you can do well in advance.

You should get about 4-5 normal sized sorts of jars out of this recipe.

Stir-Up Sunday

So the countdown to Christmas begins.

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Traditionally, today, the last Sunday before Advent, is the day when all the Christmas baking is done. So that’s the cake, the pudding and the pies. With home-made mincemeat, of course, which you prepared back in the Autumn when the apples fell.

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I haven’t actually made my cake yet. I haven’t had time. I’m going to use a cheat’s recipe at some point in the next month (in my *ahem* copious free time…). I’ll share it when I make it…

Normally, I’ll have made it by now, and I’ll feed it brandy every week. Not that I make traditional Christmas cakes. Mark isn’t a fan of raisins (or any dried grapes), so I substitute them for various other fruits, like cranberries and blueberries. Makes it a slightly lighter sort of cake.

How early do you do your Christmas baking?