My favorite Christmas thing….
Christmas is all about baking, and sugar and sweets and things normally relegated to those few days of the year where we over-indulge to complete exhaustion!! Naughty, naughty…… One of my favorite sweet treats is Fruit Mince pies, where the secret is getting the pastry right; sweet, buttery, short and flaky. But alas, I’m not posting about pastry here, today my recipe is about the filling – the fruit mince.
I used to buy Robertson’s Fruit mince in a bottle, an 1864 British institution with a quaint history, and available worldwide. It is good, but as usual, nothing beats homemade. Here you can control how much sugar, how much mixed peel (funny how people love it or HATE it!) and how much spice. Do you remember the gollywog on the label of Robertson’s Fruit mince? He was retired from the label of Robertson’s Fruit Mince in 2001.
Fruit mince is incredibly easy to make. Traditionally it is enriched with beef suet (visceral fat from beef or lamb), but I prefer to use butter….of course!!450g mixed dried fruit ( My favorite combination is: 100g prunes, 100g raisins, 150g currants, 50g dried cherries, 50g dried cranberries) 50g water 50g rapadura sugar (or preferred sweetener) 50g butter or coconut oil rind of 1 lemon rind of 1 orange 2 apples, chopped 40g rum (or brandy or grand marnier) 1 teas cinnamon 1/2 teas cloves 1 teas nutmeg Pulse the fruit in the TM until roughly chopped. If you are using prunes, make sure these are chopped well or you will have big lumps. I like to chop half the fruit well – to extract the sugars – and then add the remaining fruit whole to maintain texture. Set aside, don’t worry about cleaning the bowl. Add the butter and water and heat on 50°C SP 2 for a minute. Add the sugar, rind and spices and apple and chop on SP 4, 5 seconds then add the fruit and rum. Cook for 6 minutes, 100°C, on SP slow REVERSE. Seal in jars and let sit for a week to meld the flavours*. Enjoy in mince pies, on icecream, as an icecream pudding, or as a slice.
Footnote: It was very difficult to get the ingredients for Robertson’s fruit mince online. I had to go and find a jar in my local supermarket to ascertain the correct recipe. Disappointingly so, sugar is listed as the first ingredient on the list with glucose/fructose syrup following closely behind. In total the bottled mince has total a 52% fruit content with the addition of a few benign E numbers (260, 300 & 330), some rice flour, spices & oil. Better make your own, don’t you think!?
*you can use the mince straight away but it does improve with ageing.