My fruit mince is a little different as I use a combination of dried berries and omit the mixed peel, as apart from myself, no one in the family likes it. I substitute the peel with finely grated zest of a lemon and an orange, to achieve subtle citrus flavours. However, they don’t seem to mind mixed peel when I make Lebkuchen, because it is so finely minced that all you get is the flavour with out the bits!
Fruit mince is very easy to make and I normally make mine at the end of September, so the flavours have time to mature nicely for when I start making minces pies in early December. However, this year I didn’t get the chance to make it before we went away on holidays. But a couple of weeks less won’t make too much of a difference.
I was hoping to have been able to source my beef suet from my local IGA supermarket. However, I was told that they wouldn’t be stocking it for at least another couple of weeks and I didn’t want to wait that long. You can however buy it from quality butchers and thankfully I found one that had some in stock. I was in luck too, as you normally have to give them a couple of weeks notice to order it in.
This is what shredded beef suet looks like
My personal preference is to use organic sulphur free fruit. Remember to always check the back of your dried fruit to make sure it doesn’t say “may contain traces of gluten”. When I was buying my fruit from the health food shop they only had jumbo-sized raisins in stock, so my measurements are based on that. All cup measurements are firmly packed.
For the perfect fruit mince pies, I make a delicious orange pastry, which I’ll be sharing with you in the weeks to come.
Makes 2 large jars
250g (8.8 ounces or approx. 2 cups) suet, shredded
250g (8.8 ounces or 2 medium) green cooking apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped – I used Granny Smiths
250g (8.8 ounces or a heaped 1½ cups) jumbo-sized raisins
250g (8.8 ounces or 1½ cups minus 1 tablespoon) sultanas
250g (8.8 ounces or 1½ cups plus 1 tablespoon) currants
100g (3.5 ounces or heaped ½ cup) dried cherries, the sweet variety not tart
36g (1.3 ounces or ¼ cup) silvered almonds
30g (1.2 ounces or 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons) dried cranberries
30g (1.2 ounces or 3 tablespoons) dried blueberries
30g (1.2 ounces or approx. 3 firmly packed tablespoons) Goji berries
185g (6.5 ounces or ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons) Demerara sugar
½ teaspoon (2.5ml) ground mixed spice
Large pinch of cinnamon
Large pinch of nutmeg
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
2 tablespoons (30ml) lemon juice
125ml (½ cup) brandy
X2 large preserving jars (875ml or 3½ cup capacity), sterilised
The dried cherries are quite large, so I cut them into quarters.
In a small blender I give my slivered almond a quick blitz to break them down into smaller pieces, or you could chopped them by hand. Set aside.
Give the small blender a quick wipe out and then add the cranberries, blueberries and goji berries. Blitz until very finely chopped. Set aside.
In a large food processor using the S-blade, add the raisins, sultanas and chopped dried cherries and process until roughly broken down. Then add the suet and apple, use the pulse button and pulse until roughly broken down.
Place the mixture into a very large bowl along with the currants, almonds, blitzed mixed berries, sugar, mixed spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon and orange zest, lemon juice and brandy. Stir until well combined.
Spoon the fruit mince into the jars, pressing the fruit down as you go, this forces out any air pockets. Secure the lids and refrigerate for at least 2 weeks, however I like to let mine mature in flavour for 6-8 weeks.