Fruit mince in a jar

Right. Let’s mince.

This is a two part series on making fruit mince pies. Firstly, you need to get your mince soaking. Preferably for at least one week, up to a month (OK OK, AT LEAST over night, all right?).

Then, once that’s done skip across and check out ‘Why making fruit mince pies will be the death of you – part 2 (the pastry)‘.

I do love eating fruit mince pies. Here’s what we’re aiming for:
Fruit mince pie

So this is what we must do now:

Glazed goodness all mixed up

For those who haven’t yet realised Christmas is only 17 odd sleeps away (time zone dependent) – it’s time to soak your fruit in booze for fruit mince pies! As long as you can soak them for up to a week, you’re good.

The obvious bonus here is the age old one-for-you one-for-me formula with the brandy can help take the edge of the fact you haven’t started your Christmas shopping yet. Unless bookmarking a couple of pages in Amazon counts. The more brandy I have themoreIthinkitmight…

Chop up your apples and raisins
Chop up your apples, sultanas and raisins
Chop your cherries
Chop and add your cherries

Historically I have not had the best luck with fruit mince pies. But this year I’m hopeful as I have:

  • An ally (a friend Tenille, famous for her trifles, is coming along for the ride)
  • A handwritten recipe shared in good faith (thanks Nick’s mum)
  • Phone a friend option when the proverbial poo hits the fan (Nick’s mum).
Add your currants and brown sugar
Add your currants and brown sugar

I’m also doing this scientifically. Tenille is trying one recipe, me another. Then we’re getting together to try out two different pastry recipes as well.

Some lemon and orange rind, plus the juice of one lemon
Some lemon and orange rind, plus the juice of one lemon

I’m nothing if not dedicated.

Mixed spice and nutmeg for that christmas flavour
Mixed spice and nutmeg for that Christmas flavour.

We’ve already had some bumps in the road, I’ll share tips and tricks below. Oh, here’s my favourite bit…

BRANDY TIME!
BRANDY TIME!
Add your melted butter
Add your melted butter and stir it all up good
Jar it up
Taste it. Jar it. Refridgerate it. Stir it daily.

Ingredients

Update: after trying both Tenille’s and mine in pies, the favourite is Tenille’s recipe below. It was tarter, and had more of the peel flavour to it due to the candied orange peel.

Tenille’s recipe:

90 grams currants
90 grams sultanas
90 grams raisins
75 grams slivered almonds
1 ½ apple, peeled and chopped
75 grams of unsalted butter, finely chopped
40 grams candied orange slices, finely chopped (available from gourmet shops)
1 ½  lemons, rind and juice
225 grams of brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoons nutmeg
½ teaspoon all spice
90 mls brandy
2 tablespoons cornflour

Note: with this recipe, due to the amount of brandy, do not overfill or over cook your fruit mince pies because the liquid will caramalise, overflow and you will not be able to get them out of the tin. It works beautifully, if filled just to top. This is the other version we’re trying:

Aimee’s recipe:
2 cups seedless raisins
1 1/2 cup sultanas
500 grams apples (about three small apples), peeled and grated or chopped finely
60 grams glace cherries
250 grams currants
2 cups brown sugar
1 lemon, rind and juice needed
1 small orange, rind only
2 teaspoons mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (grated if you can, I just used the standard stuff in a spice bottle)
1 tablespoon of cornflour
1/4 cup brandy or rum
125 grams melted butter

As I mentioned Tenille and I are trying two different versions. Really, you can tailor the recipe to your liking (and mine is different from the original one Nick’s mum gave us too).

Method

  1. Chop raisins, sultanas, currants, apples and cherries finely (and almonds and candied orange peel if you’re using them).  It’s a personal choice how ‘minced’ you like you fruit mince.
  2. Stir in brown sugar, grated lemon and lime rind, lemon juice, spices and brandy/rum.
  3. Once all well mixed, stir in melted butter (see note below).
  4. Mix well and put into a large jar. Cover and chill.
  5. Stir everyday for 1 week.
  6. Fruit mince can be kept for a few weeks in refrigerator.

Cooks notes:

  • The jury is out about the addition of almonds in Tenille’s recipe. Update: after soaking the mince and cooking it the almonds were so soft they added an extra something. I would use them next time.
  • Tenille had issues with her butter seperating when she added it in the last step. We think this could be the butter she used as it had been out of the fridge for awhile (remember the Australian heat, overseas readers!). But to make sure this didn’t happen again I left melting the butter to the last moment and had mixed everything else through very well.  Update: once mince was cooked in pies the separation of the butter did not matter in the slightest.
  • I believe mixed fruit peel from a packet is from the devil, it gives the pies a really strong tart flavour. If recipes you see have that, I recommend removing it from the recipe and adding the rind from a lemon, orange and lime instead if you wish. Update: after making the pies it did seem that my mince was lacking something – we think it was the peel I left out. A commenter below has said that nice peel can be bought in health food stores, or we recommend using candied orange peel as Tenille did.

Healthy: We don’t talk about such things in polite conversation at Christmas.

Gluten free: So far… but the pastry won’t be.

Storage: In the fridge for up to a month. I am also ‘storing’ mine over icecream. Just the one time. It was awesome.

20 comments on “Fruit mince pies – part 1 (the fruit mince)”

  1. Aimee, you are a CLEVER little MUFFIN! I have been looking and looking for a way to make my own mince as i cannot buy it out here for love nor money.. and I want to make a steamed pud too!! and I am so retro i never thought of making my own, so OK, I will check the level of the brandy bottle and get right onto it! i am so pleased! c

    • Wonderful! Let me know how you go. If you own a food processor I do recommend it if you want a finer mince.

      I’ve had some girlfriends make the steamed/drunken puddings this year but they started two weeks ago to give them a good month of being topped up with brandy. But then I’ve seen other recipes that say a week is fine, if you do it I’d love to see how you go so I can try that next year!

  2. I’ve never had a fruit mince pie before. So far this look delicious! And if it makes you feel any better, I haven’t started shopping yet either. I don’t even have any pages book marked! 🙂

  3. Hi Aimee,
    If you buy your diced peel from a health food shop you can often find very soft, semi dried peel which gives a lovely flavour. I hated mixed peel before I made this discovery.

  4. I think I might actually be able to do a fruit mince – the regular mince with meat about does me in. 🙂 Everything in this one, though, looks great. And I also agree with you about healthiness – calories don’t count leading up to and on holidays, I firmly believe.

  5. Like some others above, I’ve never made these, but they sound unbelievably delicious! Can’t wait to see the final product. 🙂 Eesh, I can’t believe Christmas is creeping up on us so fast. I really need to start my shopping!

  6. The holiday’s already…no!…lol… My family loves anything with a fruit flavor. This is the time of year I put dried fruit in everything. I add the Traverse Bay Farms dried cherries to my chocolate drop cookies along with a dash of tart cherry juice. Yummy. I will be making this recipe this weekend.

Comments are lovely