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History Cookbook: Mincemeat

This recipe is in categories Georgians / Regency, Baking, Desserts, Party food
About this recipe
Healthiness : (23 votes)
Comments: Mincemeat is not difficult to make, but the apples need chopping quite small - so care needs to be taken.
Preparation Time: 30 mins
Cooking Time: None - but there is standing time if wanted.
Number of servings: Makes 5 - 6 jam jars full - more than enough for Mince pies for many months!
Serving suggestions: Put into beautiful shortcrust pasty pies, with a lid, cook and eaten on Christmas Eve, remembering to leave one for Father Christmas.
This is a vegetarian recipe


Mincemeat is so called because it used to be a mixture of meat, dried fruit and spices. It was often baked in a large rectangular pie in Medieval and Tudor times, which represented Christ's bed (manger).

Over the years, less meat was used until by Georgian times some of the recipes contained no meat at all - resembling our modern mincemeat. However, meat was still used in some households as late as mid-Victorian times.

Mincemeat still, traditionally, contains beef suet but many people prefer to use vegetarian suet these days.

At Christmas time, it is traditionally used in mince pies (one of which has to be put out for Father Christmas).

It is often made on 'Stir-up Sunday' - the Sunday before Advent, along with the Christmas pudding and cake. This allows it to mature, so that the flavours all come together.

Traditionally also, brandy is used to help to keep it, but if you are using it soon after making, it can be replaced by the juice of the orange .

The proportions of each dried fruit is able to be altered as long as the overall weight of 1.3 kg is maintained.
Ingredients
  • 450 gm raisins
  • 450 gm sultanas
  • 400 gm currants
  • 1 large cooking apple
  • 100 gm blanched almonds
  • 175 gm shredded suet (beef or vegetable is fine)
  • 450 gm dark soft brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 300 ml brandy (or sherry) - this is optional and can be replaced with squeezed juice from the orange and lemon. The alcolhol does burn off when the mincemeat is cooked
Equipment
  • Weighing scales
  • teaspoon
  • Measuring jug
  • Knife
  • 6 clean jam jars
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Grater
  • Peeler
  • Pots or bowls
Making and cooking it
Always wash your hands before preparing food Always wash your hands before preparing food.

  1. Clean 5 or 6 jam jars very carefully and dry them
  2. Put all the dried fruit into a large mixing bowl
  3. Add the sugar, suet and cinnamo
  4. Grate the nutmeg (or use already ground nutmeg) and add
  5. Grate the orange rind and lemon rind. Add to the bowl
  6. Chop the almonds. Add to the bowl
  7. Add whichever liquid is used to the bowl
  8. Peel the apple, cut into quarters, take out the core and chop finely. Add to the bowl
  9. Stir very well, to mix it all together (traditionally you should only stir clockwise!)
    Also traditionally, this would now be covered with a cloth and left for a couple of days to 'infuse'. This is not strictly necessary and can be left out altogether
  10. Stir well again and spoon carefully into prepared pots
  11. Push down well in the pots
  12. Cover with waxed paper jam covers. Put on the lids.
  13. Leave for a couple of weeks before using, to let the flavours fuse together. If alcohol is used, the mincemeat is able to be kept for several months
Mincemeat - print view  Mincemeat - print view

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Comments
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Name: David 13th March 2016
why do I need to use a orange and lemon? I use lots of ground wild plums in mine ( for taste and pectin) and dried cranberries.What does the lemon and orange do that I need to use it? I also use ground deer neck meat and beef suet.
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