Mincepies – heaven or hell? Make your own mincemeat

1 Nov

I want you to make your own mincemeat

Make my own mincemeat?  What on earth for? I can hear you cry.


Freshly bottled mincemeat

Freshly bottled mincemeat


Well, to impress and show off, of course. And, once you’ve eaten a mince pie with homemade mincemeat, you’ll never eat another shop bought again. Guaranteed.

It’s getting on for that time of year when it’s difficult to avoid the mince pie – you know those utterly dry, weird tasting things that are supposed to sum up the Christmas spirit – I think they actually sum up the Scrooge sort of Christmas spirit – mean and grumpy.

I am on a mission – to introduce you to a great tasting, moist, spicy delicious Christmas produce. I need a little work on your behalf. It’s  takes so little preparation, and it is so worth it! And if you are inspired, why not make a Christmas cake too?

So, beg or borrow some windfall apples or buy some, get some decent glass bottling jars (IKEA, John Lewis, Lakeland), assemble a few ingredients and we’re off!

Mrs Ellis’ Mincemeat (my mother-in-law, one of the very best cooks I know)

Time: 1/2 hour maximum to prepare and 3 weeks to mature

500 grams of chopped suet* (vegetarian or beef)
500 grams of currants
500 grams of raisins
250 grams of sultanas
500 grams of cooking apples (grated – preferably in a food processor to save your fingers)
100 grams mixed candied peel (chopped)
500 grams caster sugar
2 lemons – take the zest off before you juice them – much easier)
1 teaspoon each of nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon
140 ml brandy


Stirring the mincemeat

Stirring the mincemeat


You’ll need a large mixing bowl, two large or 4 small kilner jars or similar (ones that seal with a rubber ring).


Check the fruit over to ensure you’re not including any stalks or branchy bits.

Put all the ingredients together in the large mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly.

Leave to soak for a couple of hours.

Place in jars and seal.

Wait for 3 weeks before using. This lasts for ages and ages. Keep in a cool cupboard.

* Suet is a particularly British thing. If you can’t find it you will need some shredded beef fat.

5 Responses to “Mincepies – heaven or hell? Make your own mincemeat”

  1. Lauren at 9:21 pm #

    I love mincemeat, and for the first time last year I made my own! You’re right I wouldn’t go back to the bought stuff now. I already have a rhubarb and ginger mincemeat I made back in August, can’t wait to try it.

    The only thing I would add is that if the idea of suet puts you off you can leave it out of the mix and then just add a tiny splodge of butter to each pie before cooking.

    I think this year I need to branch out and make a Christmas Cake, thanks for the inspiration 🙂

    • Danielle Ellis at 11:28 pm #

      Interesting! I’ll have to try that and as to rhubarb and ginger …mmmmm

  2. Hilsters at 12:24 am #

    Top tip, after filling pie with mincemeat put a blob of Philadelphia (full fat natch) on top before putting the pastry lid on. An absolute joy beholds! Also put orange zest in pastry, you can’t go wrong, trust me!


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