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)‘.
So this is what we must do now:
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…
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).
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.
I’m nothing if not dedicated.
We’ve already had some bumps in the road, I’ll share tips and tricks below. Oh, here’s my favourite bit…
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.
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:
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).
- 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.
- Stir in brown sugar, grated lemon and lime rind, lemon juice, spices and brandy/rum.
- Once all well mixed, stir in melted butter (see note below).
- Mix well and put into a large jar. Cover and chill.
- Stir everyday for 1 week.
- Fruit mince can be kept for a few weeks in refrigerator.
- 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.