Fireworks are done and we are definitely on the home-run to Christmas. Must be time to move concertedly into seasonal cooking mode. Ye ha!!
Way back in October (which is even too early for me!), Laura over at I’d Much Rather Bake Than…. made a rather tasty looking Whisky Christmas Mincemeat. What I loved about it was that it was made without suet. Like Laura, I am not a big suet fan. However Laura was clever enough to spot a non-suet Mary Berry recipe and this inspired her to make her own version…….. which in turn has inspired me to make mine!
Isn’t the internet amazing? It creates waves of inspiration and ripples of adaptations of recipes from one site to another, each a little different from the last, so that creativity is allowed to flourish and the experience of eating becomes more varied and exciting each and every day.
Mincemeat is one of those preserves which sits on a wide love-hate spectrum, depending on what is in it and personal preference. But it is also incredibly forgiving……. allowing you to make it to your own specifications with all your best-loved ingredients.
This version (for me) is the nicest mincemeat I have ever had…….. and yes….. it is stuffed full of all my favourite stuff….. made to be extra fruity, incredibly colourful, spiced to celebrate the flavours of Christmas and laced (heavily!) with alcohol to give a hefty, warming, seasonal glow.
Not being over-keen on an excessive weighting of traditional mincemeat fruit (sultanas, raisins and currants), I limited their amount (which included removing the currants altogether), instead going for a colourful, array of rich orange apricots, dark red morello glace cherries, Christmas red cranberries and tiny dried blueberries. The dried blueberries were an unexpected, but amazing addition. Spotting them on the shelf in the supermarket when I went to buy the other fruit, these tiny little dots of blueberry goodness from Crazy Jack are packed full of flavour and definitely add an extra dimension.
I wanted a nice Autumnal apple depth to the mix, so have used a goodly pile of dried apple cubes, a splash of apple juice and plenty of Calvados apple brandy. What an amazing little tipple that is! Hic……..
On the nut front……. traditional flaked almonds are a must, but I also had some beautiful bright green Iranian Pistachios left over from the cookies that I made a few weeks ago. No brainer…… they had to go into the pot! They are just stunning…..
I’ve gone for a deep caramel sugar hit in here too…… dark brown molasses sugar combined with natural, raw coconut sugar, which add an elevated level of grownup sweetness to complement the mix…….. All topped off and spiced up with warming winter cinnamon, ginger and orange.
All in all…… totally delicious! I am really really looking forward to mince pies this year……… and I have several other treats up my mincemeaty sleeve too!
I am sharing this Extra Fruity Mincemeat with Pistachio & Calvados with a couple of blog challenges this week :
Cooking with Herbs with Karen at Lavender & Lovage – who for November and December is inviting recipes celebrating sugar & spice.
This one is definitely to be recommended………
Extra Fruity Mincemeat with Pistachio & Calvados (makes about 4 standard-sized jars)
- Sterilise your jars whilst you make the mincemeat as follows : Wash your jam jars in warm soapy water and rinse thoroughly. Place on a baking tray and into a cold oven. Turn the oven on and set to 150 C/300 F/Gas 2. Once the oven has come to temperature, leave for a further 15 to 20 minutes (or until you have finished making the mincemeat if longer).
- In a bowl, mix the dried apple cubes with the apple juice and leave to soak whilst you weigh the rest of the ingredients.
- Put all of the other ingredients (except the Calvados) in a large saucepan and lastly add the soaked apple.
- Stir all the ingredients together over a low heat until the butter has melted and the sugars have dissolved.
- Gently cook the mixture for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently and then turn off the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
- Stir the alcohol into the mincemeat whilst still hot (but not boiling).
- Remove the jars from the oven and pack the mincemeat into them, sealing the jars immediately with the lids.
- Leave to cool and store in a dark cool place for at least a month to mature fully.