In the old school spirit of stir up Sunday I thought now might be a good time to share my favourite mincemeat recipe (it’s not compulsory to make this on 25th November though, it will work just as well after a few days of maturing!). This is pretty classic in it’s foundations and I’ve been making it for a few years, but this year I’ve jazzed it up with some of my favourite Middle Eastern flavours (think pomegranate molasses, orange blossom, cardamom and pistachios). You could make traditional pastry-topped mince pies with this mincemeat, but I think it works really well with a tahini crumble topping- try it out!
For the mincemeat (makes about 1kg)
- 275g sultanas
- 100g dried apricots, diced
- 100g dates, diced
- 75g dried figs, diced
- 50g mixed peel
- 2 oranges, juice and zest
- 1tbsp orange blossom extract
- 2tbsp pomegranate molasses
- 1tsp ground cinnamon
- 1-2tsp ground cardamom
- 2 Bramley apples, peeled and diced
- 200g vegetarian suet
- 50g roughly chopped almonds
- 50g roughly chopped walnuts
- 75g roughly chopped pistachios
- 150g Demerara sugar
- 50g muscovado sugar
- 200ml spiced rum
For the pastry (enough for 8 large, deep fill mince pies or 12 smaller mince pies)
- 250g plain flour
- 140g butter
- Pinch salt
- 2tbsp caster sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 2tbsp milk
For the crumble topping
- 50g tahini
- 30g demerara sugar
- 50g butter, cubed
- 150g plain flour
- 1tbsp icing sugar, for dusting
- Ideally a week ahead of making the mince pies, make the mincemeat. To do this stir together all the ingredients except for the rum in a large bowl. Cover and leave the flavours to develop overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 120c. Tip the contents of the bowl into a deep roasting tray or oven-proof baking dish and cover with foil. Cook for 2 hours, turning gently every 45 minutes or so with a wooden spoon. Add in the rum and stir, then return to the oven, covered, for a further half an hour.
- Set the mincemeat aside and allow it to cool to room temperature, stirring a couple of times to keep everything well coated.
- Once the mincemeat has cooled down, store in well-sealed, sterilised jars. You can use the mincemeat at this stage, but if you can, leave it for a week or so for the flavours to intensify even more.
- When your mincemeat is ready to be used, make the pastry. Place the flour, butter, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse until it resembles breadcrumbs. At this stage add the egg yolks and milk and pulse again until the mix comes together in large lumps (alternatively, rub the butter into the flour, salt and sugar using your fingertips then stir in the yolks and milk using a cutlery knife). Tip the dough out and shape into a disc using your hands. Wrap in cling film and chill for 10 minutes.
- For the tahini crumble rub the butter and flour together until they resemble rough breadcrumbs, then stir through the sugar, tahini and sesame seeds.
- Grease your cupcake tray generously with butter. Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface to about 3mm thick and cut out circles to fit the cupcake holes (make sure your circles are big enough to create a deep mince pie- you want a generous amount of filling!). Push the pastry into the holes then fill with the mincemeat (in my large deep fill tray I put about 2 heaped tbsp of filling in each, but judge according to your tin).
- Top with a heaped tbsp of the crumble and bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the crumble crisp. Enjoy hot from the oven with a dusting of icing sugar and dollop of cream or brandy butter.