Advent Blog: 3rd December

On the first of December you are allowed to make the first mince pies and sausage rolls of the festive season,  so on Sunday I rustled these little beauties up. They were particularly delicious with a glass of cava – it was Geoff’s birthday on Friday and mine yesterday so it seemed like a good excuse.

I used mincemeat that my daughter made last year which has matured nicely in our dark pantry.  It’s a Delia recipe and it’s not to late to make it now!

Mincemeat recipe

1 lb (450 g) Bramley apples, cored and chopped small (no need to peel them)

8 oz (225 g) shredded vegetable suet

12 oz (350 g) raisins

8 oz (225 g) sultanas

8 oz (225 g) currants

8 oz (225 g) whole mixed candied peel, finely chopped

12 oz (350 g) soft dark brown sugar

grated zest and juice 2 oranges

grated zest and juice 2 lemons

2 oz (50 g) whole almonds, cut into slivers

4 level teaspoons mixed ground spice

½ level teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ level teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

6 tablespoons brandy


Simply combine all the ingredients, except for the brandy, in a large mixing bowl, stirring them and mixing them together very thoroughly.

Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and leave the mixture in a cool place overnight or for 12 hours, to give the lovely flavours a chance to mingle and develop.

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark ¼, 225°F (110°C).

Loosely cover the bowls with foil and put it in the oven for 3 hours, then remove the bowl from the oven. Don’t worry about how it looks – all liquid and fatty – that’s how it should look.

As it cools, stir it from occasionally to stop the fat from coagulating. When the mincemeat is completely cold, stir well again and add the brandy. Pack in sterilised jars and cover the tops with with waxed discs and seal. The mincemeat will keep for ages in a cool, dark cupboard or pantry.

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Debbie Harris

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