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Christmas Mince (Fruit Mince)

Christmas Mince (Fruit Mince)

As well as the fruit, spices and spirit, shredded beef suet is traditionally added to mincemeat. Not only does this help keep it, but when the mincemeat is heated, the suet melts, giving a wonderful richness. You can buy it in packets at some supermarkets or prepare your own from good suet bought from the butcher. Many insist on suet in Christmas mince but most prefer the tighter flavour of butter. The food processor is excellent for shredding suet, especially if you add a 1/4 cup of flour to the trimmed suet.

250g shredded suet or melted butter
60g blanched almonds, finely chopped
125g candied peel
1 granny smith apple peeled and chopped
60g glace cherries, chopped
60g glace ginger, chopped
750g mixed dried fruit
1 1/2 cups soft brown sugar
1/4 tsp each salt, nutmeg and mixed spice
Grated rind and juice of 1 orange and 1 lemon
1/2 cup of brandy

1. Make sure you have clean, dry jars ready for the mincemeat, and lids to fit. Pick over the suet, removing any fibres, and mix with the nuts, candied peel and apple. (Alternatively use melted butter.) Add the cherries, ginger and mixed fruit.
2. Keep aside one third of the mixture and put the rest through the coarsest blade of a mincer, or process lightly in several lots using a food processor. Mix all together again so the mincemeat takes on an even texture. Stir in the sugar, salt and spices, grated orange and lemon rind, fruit juice and brandy. Pack into jars, cover with circles of greaseproof paper dipped in brandy, then cover with lids. Store in the fridge until ready to use in mince pies.

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