I finished my last jar of mincemeat at Christmas last year (I usually have a few in the larder, as I call the old bookshelves in my garage..), so it’s been in my mind that I needed to make some more, and now is a good time, because it gives the lovely spicy fruity flavours times to develop before the holiday season.
Of course, you can make vegetarian mincemeat by replacing standard beef suet with the vegetable version, but as I try very hard (mostly unsuccessfully because it is so difficult) to minimise the amount of palm oil – one of the main fats in vegetable suet – we eat, I much prefer to make this recipe. As it cooks, it fills the house with the most amazing smells, gorgeous on a cool but sunny autumn day like today. If you are a strict vegan, you probably know that not all cider is vegan – here’s a list of ciders which are. I recommend the Dunkertons range, which is wholly vegan, with huge enthusiasm, they are the most delicious collection of ciders and perry. I used the Court Royal single varietal cider for this recipe, and drank the rest of the bottle myself – cooks treat!
You will need 3-4 jars for the mincemeat – here’s how you sterilize them – I usually run mine through the dishwasher, then pop them in a warm oven to keep warm until I am ready to pot up whichever preserve I am making. I sterilize jar lids, rubber seals (if using) and the jam funnel by popping them in a bowl and covering them in boiling water.
Vegan mincemeat or mincemeat cooked in cider
- 250ml medium cider
- 250g soft dark brown sugar
- 900g cooking apples (preferably Bramleys), peeled, cored and roughly chopped
- 250g currants
- 250g seedless raisins
- 75g natural glace cherries, chopped
- 75g blanced almonds, chopped
- Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 tsp ground mixed spice
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- Put the cider and sugar in a medium pan and heat gently, stirring now and again, until the sugar has dissolved. Add the apples to the pan, and simmer until they start to fluff up.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients, then bring the mixture slowly to the boil stirring all the time.
- Reduce the heat, half-cover with a lid and simmer gently for about 30 minutes or until the mixture has become a soft pulp, stirring occasionally. If the mincemeat seems a bit wet at this stage, feel free to simmer a little more with the lid off, stirring frequently.
- Taste the mincemeat now to check for sweetness, if your apples were a bit on the sour side, you might like to add more sugar now.
- Remove from the heat and set aside until completely cold, then transfer the mincemeat to sterilized jars, cover and store.
Here’s a lovely pastry recipe (you will need to substitute a vegan fat), to use with the mincemeat when the time comes (not long now 😉 ).