Rollercoaster Mum: The Wonderful Aroma of Christmas

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Wednesday, 7 November 2012

The Wonderful Aroma of Christmas

 Last week the house was filled with the delicious smell of Christmas - mmmmm! No it's not a sponsored post for some awful air freshener (although I'm open to being nice about them if you want to pay me - hint, hint!!) I have been making the mincemeat for using in the mince pies at Christmas.

My husband actually discovered the recipe that we use and it is quite an unusual one as it uses lots of fresh fruit and no suet or fat (so I guess it's relatively healthy!) It is out of the River Cottage Preserves book by the wonderful Pam the Jam and it makes the house smell divine!

The recipe listed in the book uses plums and russet apples but we tend to make one of the alternative recipes which uses lots of Bramley apples as we get loads of these when we do our apple picking at the Blackmoor Estate. The recipe is really easy and tastes so much better than bought mincemeat. Here you go.

1kg Bramley apples
Finely grated zest and juice of 2-3 oranges (you need 200ml juice)
500g firm pears, peeled, cored and chopped into 1cm cubes
200g currants
200g raisins
100g sultanas
100g crystallised stem ginger
100g orange marmalade
250g demerara sugar
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 nutmeg grated
100g chopped walnuts
50ml sloe gin (or brandy)
1-2tspns ground cinnamon (optional)

Wash the apples, peel, core and dice roughly, then put them into a saucepan with the orange juice. Cook gently until the apple has broken down to a puree (at least 15-20 minutes). If you need to you can blend with a liquidiser but it shouldn't be necessary with apples.

Put the puree into a large mixing bowl and add all the other ingredients except the sloe gin. Mix thoroughly, then cover and leave to stand for 12 hours (or more if easier - we left ours for nearly 24hrs!)
Apple mincemeat
OK so it doesn't look great at this stage but it smells divine!
Preheat the oven to 130C/ Gas Mark 1/2. Put the mincemeat in a large baking dish and bake, uncovered, for 2-21/2 hours. Stir in the sloe gin and then spoon into warm sterilised jars, making sure there aren't any air pockets if possible. Seal and store in a dry, dark, cool place until Christmas. Use within 12 months.

apple mincemeat
The finished article!

I'm looking forward to those mince pies now (and it's also great for the filling in baked apples.)

I'm joining in with Thrifty Christmas as not only is this thrifty mincemeat it's lush - you really should give it a go.


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