This recipe has everything you'd want in a mincemeat: lots of citrus zest, a hit of tangy tartness from dried cherries and a generous slosh of booze. But feel free to customise it to your tastes: use chopped dried apricots and/or prunes instead of raisins and/or currants, perhaps; add candied peel if you like it; and feel free to leave out the nuts.
Peel, core and chop the cooking apples (neatly dice eating apples, if using) and place in a large bowl. Add all the other ingredients, except the alcohol, and mix well. Cover and leave to stand overnight.
Preheat the oven to 140°C/Gas 1. Put the mincemeat in a large roasting dish, cover with foil and bake for 2 hours, stirring thoroughly once, halfway through.
Leave to cool completely, stirring regularly to help amalgamate the suet as it cools. Sterilise your jars by washing thoroughly in hot soapy water, rinsing well, then putting them upside down on a tray in a low oven (at 120°C/ Gas 1/2) to dry for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
When the mincemeat is cold, stir in the alcohol, then spoon into the sterilised jars. Seal and store in a cool, dry place for up to 2 months.
- 500g cooking apples (or use half cooking apples, half eating apples)
- 200g dried cherries (or dried cranberries)
- 350g raisins
- 200g currants
- Finely grated zest and juice of 2 oranges
- Finely grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
- 1 tablespoon ground mixed spice
- 150g vegetarian suet
- 300g light muscovado sugar
- 100g walnuts, roughly chopped
- 100ml brandy, rum, Calvados or cider brandy
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Christmas Bread and Baking
Forget shop-bought loaves and bake up a storm this Christmas, join us for a day at River Cottage on this most festive of baking courses.