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Recipe for December by Ness

One of our favourite things to eat in our house at Yule is mince pies. Lovely buttery pastry filled with soft boozy fruit – served warm with a dollop of extra thick cream – Yum!

Hubby is Type 2 diabetic but does allow himself the odd mince pie as a treat. I’m not sure where I got it, but I was given a recipe for a sugar free mincemeat to try. Yes, I know the dried fruit has its own sugars, but thought this would be less sugary than the standard jar bought in the shops.

This is the recipe I was given – again, I have no idea how I came to have it or who shared it with me, or whether I saw it somewhere and made a note of it...

250g raisins

375g sultanas

Zest of a lemon and half of the juice from the lemon

300g grated suet

1kg bramley (cooking) apple – peeled and grated

85g mixed peel

Brandy or sherry to taste.

“Soak sultanas and raisins in some brandy or sherry for at least an hour. (I left mine overnight). Then mix all ingredients together, seal in an air tight sterilised jar for at least 2 weeks.... then use!”

I stored the jar in a cupboard for the two weeks then opened it and gave it a good stir as some of the sherry had sunk to the bottom. I wasn’t sure if I used too much sherry and would probably use less next time. I also feel that the mixture should be cooked to dissolve the suet maybe? But then I would be cooking it when I use it, I guess, so it probably doesn’t matter too much. I would say to store it in the fridge one opened although the booze will help to preserve it.

It wasn’t as ‘sticky’ as regular bought mincemeat but the pies I made with puff pastry were delicious and tasted exactly the same!

I have quite a bit left over so decided today to have a go at making a fruit loaf substituting the dried fruit I usually use for some of the mincemeat.

I used my simple fruit loaf recipe that I tweak a bit, adding mixed spice for a bit of extra flavour and added the mincemeat gram for gram instead of the dried fruit, popped it in the oven and gave it its usual 45 minutes to cook.

It is delicious, moist with a hint of sherry and will go down a treat with a cup of tea in the afternoon, or as pudding with custard, icecream or cream.

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