Preparing for Christmas – homemade mincemeat


If you can stand to start thinking about Christmas this early then please read on. If you can’t then just ignore this post or I’ll really annoy you.

About this time last year I posted Delia’s brilliant Christmas pudding recipe and in case you missed it here’s the link – A job for a rainy weekend – Christmas pudding. Please note that I’ve amended the post to include figures for making smaller quantities. This year I need one large and one small pudding (3/4 of the recipe) so I rather painfully did the maths (never my strong point).

If you’re a glutton for punishment, like me, and are going to make your own Christmas pudding, then it makes sense to make homemade mincemeat at the same time because many of the ingredients are the same. I made my own mincemeat for the first time last year (again from a Delia recipe) and it was fantastic. Once you’ve bought all the ingredients it’s really simple but I would recommend chopping the apple using a mini chopper or food processor as this did take a while by hand.

Homemade mincemeat

Makes 6 x 350ml jars (according to Delia on-line) OR enough for two large gherkin jars, one chutney jar and one small jar of mayonnaise (as pictured)

  • 450g cooking apples, peeled cored and finely chopped
  • 225g shredded suet (I used vegetarian suet)
  • 350g raisins
  • 225g sultanas
  • 225g currants
  • 225g mixed peel, finely chopped
  • 350g soft dark brown sugar
  • 2 oranges, grated rind and juice
  • 2 lemons, grated rind and juice
  • 50g whole almonds cut into slivers
  • ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 4 teaspoons of mixed spice
  • Half a nutmeg grated
  • 6 tablespoons of brandy

Simply mix all the ingredients, except for the brandy, in a very large mixing bowl.

Cover with a cloth and leave for 12 hours.

Cover the bowl with foil and place the mincemeat in an oven heated to 110oC for 3 hours.

Remove from the oven, leave to cool and then stir in the brandy.

Spoon into sterilised jars then place in a cool dark cupboard until needed. I think you could actually use it straight away as I had a sneaky spoonful and it was divine. Delia says she has kept hers for up to 3 years but I know mine won’t last that long because I love it too much.

NOTE: For recipes that use mincemeat see my post Christmas is coming – two ways with mincemeat. Last year I also experimented with an apple and mincemeat crumble (I just added a couple of spoonfuls of mincemeat to the cooked apple before adding the topping) and it was very good indeed.


Christmas is coming – two ways with mincemeat

mincemeat filo cigars

I got told off by my husband this week when I attempted to play our special Christmas mix tape in the car. “Too early” he cries, “I’ll be sick of Christmas before it’s even here at this rate”. I sort of get his point, but this week it’s the school nativity and Christmas Fayre and so I’m forced to get in the Christmas mood whether I like it or not (for the sake of the kids of course).

The good thing about this is that I have an excuse to finally try out my homemade mincemeat. I used a new recipe this year so I want to see how it tastes. I’m not great at traditional mince pies but I have these two recipes in my collection which make nice alternatives. The first uses ready-made filo and is a lighter option to shortcrust pastry. The second is a giant slab of a tart which you cut into squares once it has baked meaning that you don’t have to faff around with pastry cutters. It also has a buttery, crumbly topping which is just divine.

It does seem a bit odd ball to make your own mincemeat and then buy ready-made pastry. Of course you can make your own pastry if you prefer. And if you think I’m a glutton for punishment making my own mincemeat then buy it in a jar – it works just fine.

By the way, the homemade mincemeat was great – definitely the best recipe I’ve tried and not very onerous. Not surprisingly it came from good old Delia (yet again). I might blog it next year once I’ve given it another go.

Mincemeat filo cigars

Makes 12

  • 6 ready-made filo sheets cut into 4 x 12.5 cm squares, making 24 in total
  • 40g butter, melted
  • A small  jar of mincemeat
  • Icing sugar for dusting

Preheat your oven to 180oC fan.

Lay a square of filo pastry onto a dry work surface and brush with melted butter. Take another filo sheet and lay this on top.

Spoon a thin line of mincemeat in a diagonal line across the square, then fold the filo sheet in two over the mincemeat to form a triangle. Fold over the two ends about ½ cm from the edge and then roll up into a cigar shape from the mincemeat end up.

Place on a non-stick baking tray with the join at the bottom and continue the process until you have 12 cigars.

Brush the cigars lightly with melted butter and then bake for 12-15 minutes until crisp and golden.

Serve warm dusted with icing sugar.

You can make these ahead and store in an air tight container. You can then reheat them in the oven (at 180oC fan, as before) for about 5 minutes.

No nonsense mincemeat tart

  • 300g shortcrust pastry (I cheat and buy mine ready-made)
  • 450g mincemeat


  • 75g butter melted
  • 75g self-raising flour
  • 40g semolina
  • 40g caster sugar

Add all the ingredients for the topping together in a bowl and mix. Tip the mix onto a square of cling film and roll into a thick sausage shape. Chill in the fridge until solid.

Preheat your oven to 190oC fan.

Roll out the pastry to form a rectangle about 3mm thick. Transfer to a rectangular baking sheet and turn the edges of the pastry over slightly at the edges to create a rim.

Spoon the mincemeat over the surface of the pastry and distribute evenly with a palette knife right to the edges.

Take the topping out of the fridge and remove the cling film. Using a cheese grater grate the topping and then sprinkle over the mincemeat evenly. Work quickly here as the butter in the topping will start to melt and stick together when at room temperature.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the topping and the pastry are nice and golden.

Remove from the oven, cut into rectangles and dust with icing sugar.

If you are making this in advance, to reheat bake for 20 minutes at 150oC fan.