Hubby is a huge fruit mince pie fan, and rightly so! They are one of the first 'Christmasy' things that find their way into our pantry at this time of year, and get us excited about the coming festivities. In the past, we've always bought these from the supermarket. They're cheap enough, and in previous years it had always seemed like they would be such a chore to produce myself. But when I found a recipe for fruit mince a few weeks ago, I thought I had to give it a go! I don't know about you, but whenever I see recipes for fruit mince pies, the ingredient list goes something like this: "300gm quantity of fruit mince. Pre-made Shortcrust pastry", so I had no reason that could justify doing this when it's so close to just buying them from the store.
The fruit mince recipe is something like this. I've really adapted this to my tastes, so you don't need to be too strict. This isn't easy to mess up - you just don't want it too wet (or too dry, I imagine!).
- 200g Sultanas
- 200g Raisins
- 200g Currants
- 100g Dried Apricots
- 100g Dates
- 1/3 cup blanched almonds
- 2tspn mixed spice (I use 1 part cinnamon, 1 part nutmeg, 1 part allspice)
- 2/3 cup tightly packed brown sugar
- 1 grated granny smith/green cooking apple
- Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
- Grated zest and juice of one lemon
- 1/3 cup brandy
NOTE: I've adjusted this recipe from what I had originally made (removed the requirement for butter)--it's so easy to make; you truly can't get it wrong!
1. Pulse the dried fruit in batches in a food processer. It will help get everything nice and fine. if you don't have one, chop the dry ingredients finely (paying special attention to the larger fruits and ingredients. I sometimes include my currants and sultanas whole.
2. Thoroughly combine remaining ingredients and the fruit mixture in a mixing bowl, or a large container you can seal. This will more or less fill a medium sized mixing bowl (or a 2L pudding basin as a guide), so you will likely have leftovers you may want to keep for a while.
3. Store in a sterlised, air-tight jar until ready for use.
For best results, allow the fruit mince to sit for at least two days before use. Just give it a stir once a day. It will still work if you use it straight away: I did, and the pies were fine.
The dried fruit in the recipe can be used interchangeably. The recipe I had originally didn't call for apricots or dates, but I like them, so I used them. Personally, I hate candied peel, and always substitute it for fresh zest in every recipe I find. If there's something you don't like - don't use it. I also love my Christmasy things to be spicy, so you may want to use a little less (or a little more!) of the mixed spice.
The fruit mince will keep well if tightly sealed and refridgerated, and the taste will improve. The fruit mince can keep for up to 6 months is you store it in a sterilised air tight jar (just the same as you'd do for jam).
Realistically, these should last at least a week in an airtight container, but they only last a few days in my house without being eaten! We're only a house of 2, so I've been making half batches of pastry and cooking lots of 6, which means they're always fresh, and the mince flavour improves as it ages each time.