Christmas preparations: Baking

I like the build-up to Christmas but I’ve often done everything in such a rush that I’ve found myself longing for a quiet life, even before the festivities have started. Not this year. Having more time has been a blessing as I can spend longer on Christmas preparations than in the past. So, to start I decided to make some sweet mincemeat for mince pies. This is a superior recipe because it doesn’t use suet, important if you are entertaining vegetarians. It’s also not as sweet as some commercially made pies because the mixture contains lots of apple. I recommend it. I found it in an old National Trust cookbook belonging to my late mother-in-law. She was a great cook. I’m not but you can’t go wrong with this recipe.

Mincemeat without suet
400ml of dry cider
450gm of soft, dark brown sugar
1.8 kilo of apples
450gm of raisins
450gm of currants
125gm of chopped glace cherries
125gm of chopped almonds
150ml of brandy or rum (I’ve used amaretto also)
Grated rind and juice of a lemon
Teaspoon of mixed spice
Teaspoon of cinnamon

  1. Heat gently cider and sugar in a pan until sugar has dissolved.
  2. Peel, core and chop apples and add to pan. (You may think you have too many but they will mush down).
  3. Stir in rest except alcohol,a half cover with lid and simmer for 30 mins.
  4. Remove from heat and cool right down.
  5. Spoon into clean jars or plastic boxes.

This mixture will make at least 30 pies, more if you make dainty versions – a good idea as they are very filling. I use this to make Delia’s delicious strudel recipe – see her Christmas cookbook. I give them to friends and family but hide them from my husband because he eats them like an unrestrained 3 year old! And it’s only 6 December.

This would make a nice Christmas gift, in a glass jar with ribbon and a tag. Or make the pies and box half a dozen. Oh I better stop, I’m beginning to sound like Kirsty! Watch her tomorrow night as she prepares for Christmas. Or perhaps not as all her ‘makes n bakes’ take far too long. And who wants to win prizes and impress the WI anyway?!

I might have more time but I still have to make things which are quick. Well apart from J’s sweater which I have unpicked four times and still not finished. But that’s another story…

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3 thoughts on “Christmas preparations: Baking

  1. mmmm longing for a mince pie now – will have to buy some later (when we go and get our tree), but will definitely give your recipe a try x

  2. You’ve become such a story book mum/grandma! I love it though. Please have plenty of mince pies ready for my return home..thanks.xx

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