Homemade citrus mincemeat

Healthier meat-free citrus fruit mincemeat

This mincemeat is so delicious I was eating spoonfuls of the stuff and used it various times in pastries within a single week.  And before this I wasn’t even a big fan of mincemeat!  It’s true what they say – once you’ve made homemade mincemeat there’s no going back! 🙂

The history

There’s lots of information in Wikipedia’s mincemeat article but just to answer the question ‘Why is it called mincemeat when it’s full of dried fruit?’  Well originally in the middle ages it did contain meat chopped very finely and even today many versions contain suet.  Apparently mincemeat is at its best when aged to deepen flavours as the preserving effect of alcohol gradually breaks down the meat proteins and changes the texture of the mixture.  Luckily for vegetarians and vegans (or people who don’t want meat in their fruit pies!) there are lots of commercial meatless mincemeats available.  Nowadays mincemeat is still a traditional Christmas treat in many countries, often served in mince pies or mincemeat tarts decorated with stars and other seasonal shapes.

So there you go, make mincemeat and join the festive baking spree!  Or make it any time of the year… 🙂

The recipe

Apparently traditional mincemeat isn’t usually cooked but I saw a recipe where it’s simmered 30 minutes and liked the idea of the cinammon stick infusing the ingredients over heat with flavour.  This mincemeat also has lots of citrus stuff with extra candied orange peel and tangy cranberries replacing most of the sultanas.  You can adapt and use other dried fruit like apricots.  The recipe and quantities are flexible.

  • 190g/1 and 1/2 cups peeled and finely chopped apple (preferably with an interesting flavour like reinettes or coxes)
  • 115g/1/4 cup + 3 tbsp peeled and finely chopped pear
  • 175g/1/2 cup pure maple syrup (could add less like 135-155g/1/2 cup less 1 or 2 tablespoons), or sugar
  • 100g/1/2 cup finely chopped orange peel
  • 80g/1/2 cup dried sour cherries (or cranberries)
  • 70g/1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 35g/1/4 cup sultanas
  • 28g/2 tbsp unsalted butter or vegan butter/margarine
  • 30g/1/4 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts
  • zest and juice (20g/1 and 1/2 tbsp) of 1 lemon
  • juice of half an orange (1/4 cup) – could add the zest too, optional
  • 1/2 cinammon stick
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1g) ground cinammon
  • 1/4 tsp (1g) all spice (or Christmas spices)
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup dark rum or brandy, to taste
  • 30g/1/4 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts

Note:  after weighing chop the sour cherries, cranberries and sultanas a little so they’re a similar size to the other dried fruit.

Homemade fruit mincemeat illustrated recipe

  1. Place all the ingredients (except the rum and nuts) in a medium heavy-based saucepan and bring to a simmer.
  2. Simmer uncovered very gently for 15-20 minutes, stirring often so it doesn’t stick or burn.  The mincemeat should become thicker.
  3. Take off heat and allow to cool 15 minutes or more.
  4. Stir in the rum and pecans or walnuts.

Homemade citrus mincemeat

It can be stored in airtight tupperware in the fridge up to 2 weeks or wrap tightly in plastic film and freeze up to 4 months.

Mmmmm… mincemeat.  The surprisingly yummy treat from medieval times!  There’s a reason it’s been going for so long – it’s yummy!  🙂