Mincemeat - makes 3-4 lbs
6oz of each of the following:
chopped suet/currants/raisins/sultanas/finely chopped apple/mixed peel/dark brown sugar
a few finely-chopped glacé cherries (optional)
Juice and rind of 1 lemon and 1 orange
½ oz mixed spice
2 fl.oz brandy (optional)
Mix all the ingredients together well and put into clean, dry jars.
Made this way, it will only keep for 4-6 weeks.
If you want to be able to keep the mincemeat for longer, use the following method.
Mix all the ingredients, except the brandy, in an ovenproof mixing bowl and leave overnight in a cool place, covered with a cloth.
Put the bowl, loosely covered with foil, into a very cool oven (110°C/225°F/Gas Mark ¼) for 3 hours until all the suet has melted.
Remove the bowl from the oven and stir well.
Leave to cool, stirring from time to time, so that the fat coats all the ingredients.
When the mincemeat is quite cold, stir in the brandy and put into jars.
Stored in a cool dark place, it will keep almost indefinitely.
1 lb self-raising flour
4 oz hard margarine or butter
4 oz lard
1 tablespoonful caster sugar
1 egg yolk
2-4 tablespoonfuls milk
Rub the fat into the flour and sugar until the mixture is like fine breadcrumbs.
Beat the egg yolk and milk in a basin.
Add to the other ingredients and mix until the dough is smooth and firm, adding a little more milk if necessary.
Leave to stand in a plastic bag in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before rolling out.
This pastry is very “forgiving” and can be rolled out more than once. It has a wonderful light texture when cooked.
To make the mince pies:
Pre-heat the oven to 200oC/400oF/Gas Mark 6.
Roll out the pastry thinly and cut into rounds with a pastry cutter.
Line bun tins with the rounds and put a heaped teaspoonful of mincemeat in each.
Top with a smaller round of pastry and bake for 10-15 minutes.
Leave to cool on a wire tray and when cold dust with sieved icing-sugar.