If you are lucky, you can occasionally find jars of mincemeat here. If you are lucky, and if you start looking at the end of August perhaps… Any later, and you have had it – fellow “Englishers” (or other curious folk) will have beaten you to the few prize jars of Robinsons that sit surrounded by American barbecue sauce and macaroni cheese mix on the “foreign food” shelf, leaving you with no other option than to make your own.
Having just about mastered jam-making (thanks to a stupid amount of fruit going to waste on various bushes and trees here in the summer), I thought to myself how hard can mincemeat making be? And the answer is not that hard at all actually, especially if you have your mother staying with you, and she does the majority of the hard work, i.e. the mountain of chopping! I will admit to not being overly optimistic at what the end result might be, but (and as is usually the case when you think like that) this is gooooood… Very good. And it pleases me no end that something as imperative to an English Christmas as a jar of mincemeat will never seem out of reach again…
Our family mince pie pastry recipe is here should you need it, and here’s the recipe for the mincemeat itself (based on a good old Delia recipe – thank you Delia, you are a life saver!)…
450g Bramley apples, cored and finely chopped:
225g Suet, vegetarian or otherwise (we had vegetarian to hand);
500g fresh cranberries;
225g candied peel;
350g dark brown sugar;
grated zest and juice of 2 oranges and 2 lemons;
50g sliced almonds chopped;
4 teaspoons mixed ground spice;
half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon;
6 tablespoons of brandy.
Combine all of the ingredients in an oven proof bowl, and leave covered with a cloth overnight for the flavours to infuse. Preheat oven to 120DegC, cover the bowl with tin foil and cook for 3 hours. As it cools, give it a stir occasionally. Once completely cool, spoon into sterilised jars, and top with a healthy glug of port or brandy before screwing the lid on tight. Now you can bake mince pies to your hearts content, or if you’re feeling generous, gift jars to fellow deprived expats, or your neighbours (who will undoubtedly ask whether it actually has meat in it)! Enjoy…
Finally, I couldn’t end a post about English Christmas food without giving Premier Inn Gatwick a mention. They very sweetly sent me a lovely hamper packed to the brim with traditional English goodies for Christmas, which made this English expat very happy indeed. Thank you so much! I am prepared to share everything, apart from the Chocolate Orange!!
Kriss MacDonald says
Oh – why hadn’t I seen this post a week ago! I couldn’t find any mince pies where I live here in the US.
There’s still time to make them Kriss! It’s never too late for a mince pie! :D Thank you! :)
Wish I was still with you to taste the results now it has had time to mature! Glad it was a success. xx
Me too, will save a jar for when you are next over xxx
That looks delicious – not something I will attempt now this year, but maybe next year!
And well worth while it will be too! Thanks Kara! :)
Lovely photos :-) I have to be honest, I’ve never been the biggest fan of mince pies or anything else mincemeat related, but T has been asking to try them and I’d rather he tried a homemade one first time out, so I might have to give this recipe a wee shot. xx
Thanks Ruth! I hope he likes them! You could always halve the recipe, or give the remaining jars to your neighbours like we will! :D xx
Laura @ Kneadwhine says
Wow! I have just today been moaning about the mince pies that I found in the local shop – not at all tasty and far more pastry than mincemeat. I might well have to give this a try myself next year!
Thanks Laura, I am sure you will like this version! :)
Really good looking mince pies! I made my first mince pies this year but they look at all as good as yours!
Thanks Otilia! :)
Mary @over40andamumtoone says
Sounds delicious – I do love mincemeat
Thank you! So do I! :D
Your photos always make me drool – that looks delicious x
Thanks so much Cass! :) x
Kate @craftsonsea says
Mmm, that looks gorgeous! Tempted to go and grab one of the (sadly shop bought) mince pies out of my kitchen now!
If I could do that Kate, I might be tempted too! Thank you ! :D
You are very good. And I considered us being good using frozen pastry and mincemeat in a jar. Maybe next year we shall make our own. Thank you so much for sharing the recipes.
I think you are just as good to be honest, I may well do the same to save time if the pastry was suitable for mince pies here! :D Thank you…
Just out of interest, what shortcrust pastry recipe do you use? The BBC’s “unbelievably easy” mince pie recipe was yummy, but not aesthetic in any way, waaay too crumbly.
I do indeed Rachel! If you follow the link back through to my old Scandinavian blog, it’s there, but I will message you with it just in case you don’t see this! :D
Helen The good life mum says
Oh your so clever i also make my own mince meat and have fruit soaking in alcohol all year ready for cooking i like sour cherries in mine to as i hate glace cherries erg… your pies are so neat and petite lovely and i really like those decorations im looking for something like that for my tree
Love the idea of sour cherries, I am not overly keen on glace either! Thanks Helen! :)
They look delicious! I’ve not yet attempted my own mince pies but I really should, so I’ve pinned your recipe for next year! I’m sure that they taste so much better than the supermarket ones. I’m the only one that eats them in this family though!
Thank you… Do you know it doesn’t taste any worse that’s for sure! :D Luckily three of us like them in our house which is probably just as well for me! :D
Boo Roo and Tigger Too says
I’ve added this to my list of Christmas recipes for next year, I watch my mum make mincepies when I was younger and I need to pass this on to my children.
I think that’s why we make them too… Thank you! :)
Mrs. Chasing the Donkey says
How long till you can whip me up a dozen? I have pinned this to try later…. okay maybe to ask someone else to do it for me.
Won’t take me long!… I have 4 jars left! :D Thank you…
I still have some apples to use from the garden that are going spotty so this will be ideal to use them up !
Can I borrow your Mum to do the chopping too please ?
I will send her over…. Thanks Swazi! :)
Oh yummy! I have always wanted to make my own. I am book marking this recipe :) x
Thanks Keri Anne! :)
Midlife Singlemum says
Mt mum used to make mince pies every year, even though we’re Jewish. She definitley made her own pastry but I’m not sure if she made or bought the mincemeat. I think she may have made it as I don’t remember ever seeing jars of it – I’ll have to ask her.
That’s great! It has been so funny introducing people to them for the first time during our time abroad… They are usually convinced they won’t like them, but they usually do… :D
oh I’d love to try this! Mince pies are my favourite! x
Mine too Fritha! Thank you! :)
Sally Sellwood (@Recipejunkie27) says
I found a jar of last year’s mincemeat in the back of my jam cupboard this morning which pleased me no end as I haven’t had any time whatsoever to make any this year. I’ve just got a batch of pastry in the fridge ready to roll.
I remember the delight of finding something ‘English’ that I craved on the foreign food shelves in my supermarket when I lived in the south of France – it was especially exciting when there was ‘Englsih’ month at Le Clerc…
Your pictures are beautiful, Emma.
Thanks so much Sally… I am glad you found a jar, it must all be so hectic in your house right now. Hope all is well xx
wow, well done for making it as it would hardly be christmas without a mince pie!
I know right! :D Thank you!
Mary @AsturianDiary says
Wow, those pies and that mincemeat just look amazing. I wil have to share your recipe round the other expats I know. About a week ago my Facebook timeline broke out in a rash of posts about finding or making mincemeat.
Hope you have a wonderful Christmas xx
Thanks so much Mary! :) Have a really wonderful Christmas, hope to see you again in 2014! :) xx
Wow, I didn’t even know that you could get it in Germany. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any in my entire life. Looks like your hunt was worth it though, your mince pies look amazing x
You can, along with hellmans mayo, baked beans and the odd chocolate bar! Thank you Carolin! :) xx
Love All Blogs says
Deck my mouth with tonnes of mince pies fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! This looks fab Emma!
Thank you A! :D xx
Nikki Thomas says
I would love to have a go at making my own and I say it every year and then I run out of time. Luckily my mum makes her own and gives me some and she uses the Delia recipe too and it is lovely.
She’s an institution isn’t she? I have changed her recipe slightly to fit around what we had in the cupboard, but it still works! :D Thank you!
When I was younger I always thought mince pies had mince meat in them!
I sometimes struggle to find some that are both suitable for veggies and alcohol free.
I am sure this would work equally well without alcohol… Perhaps add 6 tablespoons of cranberry juice or apple juice instead? And I prefer to make this with veggie suet when I can get hold of it! :) Thanks Foz! :)
The Reading Residence says
That does look tasty! I’ve bought my mincemeat ready to make mince pies, but the 4yo has declared she doesn’t like them, the Husband doesn’t, so wondering whether to bother (though there will be plenty for me…!)
If it’s only you that’s going to be eating them, it’s definitely worth the bother!!! Thank you! :)
Very Bored in Catalunya says
Wow, your photos are amazing! This year we were fortunate enough to find our local Lidl’s was stocking mincemeat, so obviously I went mad and bought 3 jars! I usually make my own so next year I’ll have to try your recipe, well so long as I can get my grubby mits on some suet.
Thank you! We can occasionally find veggie suet here in the international shops, and I know that you can buy normal suet from the butchers… Happy Christmas! :)