I'm sick of people telling me they don't like mince pies. What they actually mean is they don't like cheap, dry pastry cases filled with bitter chunks of candied peel, cheap harsh brandy and currants with pips that get stuck between your teeth. If people were offered REAL mince pies, with short, buttery pastry and rich, juicy fruit NO-ONE would claim to dislike one of the season's greatest traditions.
So here we are, folks, my recipe for the most delicious mincemeat you're ever likely to taste.
350g dates, stoned and chopped
200g dried cranberries
2 apples, peeled and coursely grated
75g soft brown sugar
200g beef or vegetable suet
2 tbs ground cinnamon
1tbs mixed spice
100ml orange juice
100ml spiced rum
zest of 3 clementines or a large orange
Start by putting the dried fruits in a bowl or container and pour over the juice and rum. Add the sugar, spices and zest and give it a good ol' mix. Leave to steep for a day or two, until the liquid is absorbed and the fruit looks plump and juicy. Then add the remaining ingredients and stir well. You can either keep it in the fridge for a few weeks, or stick it in sterilized jars, with another teaspoon of rum on top and save it for next christmas (if you have that much willpower)