Advent Calendar 3: Quincemeat

I have wanted to make this recipe for literally years, but it has been too difficult to find the ingredients. However, with quince making a resurgence, and whole bushel of them showing up in my local wholefood shop, I decided it was about time to scratch this recipe off my to do list.

I love mince pies, and mincemeat in general. They celebrate the best
of the season; sweet fruits, heady spices and plenty of warming booze. This ‘Quincemeat’ has all of that in spades.

Quincemeat

  • Approx. 1kg quince (3-4 fruits is a good guide for this. I used just over 3 for this recipe.)
    2 tbsp butter
    250g sultanas
    250g raisins
    250g dried apricots
    250g soft light brown sugar (muscovado is a good call but any soft brown sugar will do)
    100g candied peel
    1tsp ground cloves
    1tsp ground ginger or cardamom
    1tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
    100ml calvados or brandy

Preheat the oven to 150c.

Peel, core and chop your quince into chunks. Quince have a much firmer flesh and woodier core than their cousins apples and pears, so take your time and use a sharp knife. Place the fruit on an oven tray or dish

IMG_6781.JPGMelt the butter and drizzle it over the quince. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the quince is soft.

Pour the hot quince and any juices into a mixing bowl. Rouglychop the sultanas and raisins and cut down the apricots into sultana-sized pieces. Add the fruit to the quince and mix together. Allow the mixture to cool completely.

Measure out your spices, sugar peel and booze. Add in the dry ingredients and peel and mix through, before adding the brandy and doing the same.

Pot up into jars or store covered in the fridge.

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This recipe isn’t particularly difficult. Like most mincemeats it just takes time and has a lot of ingredients. The most difficult parts are the chopping of the quince, and then the chopping of the sticky dried fruit. Beyond that it is just a case of weighing, mixing and and waiting.

This sweet and aromatic mincemeat makes a nice change from the dark and sticky traditional mincemeat. Pair it with lightly spic pastry or vanilla infused creams and ice creams for out of this world desserts this Christmas. Also, this method, with perhaps a reduced cook time, would work exceedingly well with similar fruits like apples and pears if quince are not availiable.

Enjoy!

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Cranberry Mincemeat: Recipe Advent Calendar Redux

I posted this recipe last year, but it’s so good, I figured it needed a repost for this year’s Recipe Advent Calendar. I mean, I am making this juicy, ruby delight again this year, so why not?

Cranberry Mincemeat

  • 130ml Ruby port
  • 200g Dark soft brown sugar
  • 600g Cranberries
  • 100g Dried cranberries
  • 125g Dried mixed fruit and peel
  • 1/4 tsp Ground cloves
  • 2tsp Ground ginger
  • 2tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 1tsp Mixed Spice
  • 1 Clementine or 6tsp orange juice
  • 6 tbsp Honey
  • 1/4 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp Almond extract
  • 50ml brandy
  • Optional: 3 drops Orange extract

Over a low heat, add the sugar and port to your pan and stir gently until the sugar dissolves.

Add the cranberries and coat in the port syrup, stirring as needed until the berries begin to pop. If you are using frozen fruit straight from the freezer, allow a few minutes extra for the fruit to defrost.

Add the spices and dried fruit to the mix and stir in.

If you are using the orange juice, just add and mix it in. If you use a clementine, squeeze the juice into the pan and add the juiced halves of the fruit to the mixture. Stir to combine.

Let the mixture simmer over a low heat for 15-20 minutes until nearly all the berries are popped and the mixture is a deep, dark sultry red. Check it frequently in this time to make sure it doesn’t stick.

Take the pan off the heat and allow the mixture to cool for 15-20 minutes. It will become quite jellied.

Beat the honey, extracts and brandy vigorously into the mix until it becomes runnier and pot up, if storing, or pour into a storage bowl if you are going to use it within two weeks, and have fridge space. This recipe makes one good litre of Mincemeat- I filled a Kilner jar, with one pie’s worth left over.

If you are going to give the mincemeat as a gift, or store in jars for more than a month or so, add a splash of brandy to the top of the jar to help keep if preserved.

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Cranberry and Port mincemeat blends have become very popular in recent years, to the point where pre made mixes have become available in some supermarkets. I think this is wonderful, and great help for those who simply don’t have time to make their own but still want to enjoy festive goodies. I think, however, the foodie community can take the idea further. Swap out liquors for your favourites, providing they have a similar consistency (I don’t recommend cream liqueurs for example, but who knows, you could make it work!). Play with the spices- why not try a fruit pink pepper, or fragrant cardamom? Be brave and try new fruit combinations.

And of course, share, dears. I do so like to chat cooking.

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