Christmas Special - Mincemeat

My mother in law makes the best mince pies, they are these tiny buttery shells filled with juicy, boozy fruit always topped with a small pasty star. The pastry is wonderful and short, but it’s the mincemeat that really makes it. 

I don’t think I will ever be able to replicate her recipe, so the best I can do it to go to good old favorites – Delia and Mary Berry and create my own recipe, my own special recipe that I can pass onto my children. 

Christmas Mince 
Makes 3x0.3l jars 

200g (1 large) bramley apple 
225g raising 
225g currants 
225g sultanas 
130g mixed candied peel, chopped 
225g brown sugar 
50g toasted almond flakes 
3 heaped tsp mixed spice 
½ tsp nutmeg 
1 lemon, juice only 
1 orange, juice only 
150g shredded suet 
50g butter 
2 bay leaves 
250ml brandy 

Core the apple (don’t worry about peeling) and chop into small, fingernail size pieces. Place the apple and the rest of the ingredients – apart from brandy – in a heat proof bowl and stir everything together until everything is well combined. 


  • You might think that the bay leaf looks a bit out of place in a fruit recipe, but it adds another dimension to the recipe and brings the overall sweetness down slightly. 
  • Delia uses all suet and Mary Berry goes for all butter, I am using a mixture of suet and butter to get the best of both worlds. 
  • I am using toasted almonds in the recipe to get slightly deeper and nuttier flavours, otherwise the taste of almonds just gets lost. 
  • Be generous with the spices, the flavour will settle down after you cook it – use as much of mixed spice and nutmeg or any other mix of spices (cinnamon, cloves, ginger, even cardamom) as you like. 
Cover the bowl with cling wrap and leave for 12 to 24 hours for flavours to develop. 

Pre-heat the oven to 120C, remove the cling film, cover the bowl with foil and place it in the oven to slowly cook for 3 hours. 
Remove the bowl from the oven and leave to cool completely, stirring it from time to time. 
Once the mincemeat has cooled completely stir in the brandy and mix well. 

Spoon mincemeat into sterilised jars and seal well. 
Keep in a cool dark place for up to 2-3 years. Its best eaten within the first year though.

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