It’s barely December and I’m already feeling festive. Think I can mainly attribute that to the excitement of the prospect of spending Christmas up a mountain, and the perfectly timed snowfall in London, which always makes me happy. I had my first mince pie of the season at work on Friday and as nice as it was, shop-bought isn’t a patch on homemade, and I had the urge to make mincemeat!
I followed Delia’s method and proportions of fruit and fat, but played about with the liquids…I like my mincemeat boozy!
Dark ‘n’ stormy mincemeat
220g vegetarian suet
1kg fruit: 250g dark raisins, 250g golden, 250 figs, 100g cranberry/blueberry, 150 apricots.
100g hazelnuts, toasted, skinned and chopped
530g chopped apple (D’arby spice)
30ml Rochester Dark Ginger (Holland & Barrett stock this)
Half tsp cinnamon
4 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ginger
Zest and juice of a lemon
50ml orange juice
A good slug of rum at the end (gave up measuring, sorry!)
The mingling stage was more like 20 hours over Delia’s 12, but for no reason other than convenience. I also jarred up the mincemeat while hot. Even though I generally trust Delia, it feels wrong to leave a preserve of any kind to cool before decanting, and I’m just not confident it would keep as long as a year that way. I relied on the tried-and-tested hot-contents-into-hot-jars method, and left the jars overnight to cool before labelling and storing in a dark corner of a cupboard.
|Chopped and ready for the boooooze|
And when I say storing….I’ll store all but one. I have to make some mince pies today having got this far! I expect most will be used up over the coming month or so and at least one will come on the Epic Christmas Road Trip so we can have some oven-fresh pies in Poland, but I’ll be happy if I find a jar this time next year, and revisit the 2010 vintage before embarking on another batch.
|Rum and ginger-ed up|
One thing to note about Delia’s recipe – she pre-empts your disgust at seeing your mincemeat “positively swimming in fat” and reassures you that this is okay. I could barely detect any melted fat in my massive cauldron of mincemeat mix, although traces of suet are clear in the cooled jars. Thought it worth mentioning in case such a phrase puts you off making this, or you think you’ve screwed up the proportions (like I did).
|No discernable swimming pool of fat|
And the Dark ‘n’ Stormy of the title is the rum and ginger beer that constituted the main liquid element. I’m not sure the ginger came through strongly enough, so would I think next time I’ll replace about 100g of fruit with that amount of chopped stem ginger.