I wish you could smell my kitchen right now. The aromas wafting out of it rank up there with roasting turkey and fresh baked pannetone. A pot of homemade mincemeat is simmering on the stove and I’m thinking we’ll be nibbling mince tarts before the weekend is over.
Wait, don’t click away! Granted mincemeat is unfamiliar to many and has a reputation to live down (suet? Eww) but the mincemeat I’m talking about is seasonal, bursting with flavor, and downright decadent. My version of this British holiday favorite is full of cranberries, apples, fresh ground spices, spiked with a splash of liquor and sweetened with maple syrup.
Mincemeat is most often used in recipes such as mince pies, a favorite of Jamie Oliver’s, or Nigella Lawson’s Star-topped mince tarts. I’ve also enjoyed it in shortbread bars, and this Christmas, plan to create a mincemeat slab pie of sorts.
I wish I had stockpiled cranberries earlier in the season so that I could make pots and pots, because little jars of spiced mincemeat would make THE most delightful homemade edible Christmas gifts.
This recipe is dubbed ‘Canadian’ because so many ingredients I use are local, including cranberries, apples, apple cider, maple syrup, and maple whisky.
- 2/3 cup apple cider (or substitute cranberry juice)
- 2 cups whole cranberries, fresh or frozen
- 1 cup raw cane sugar (or brown sugar)
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon, freshly ground if possible
- 1/2 teaspoon both allspice and ginger
- 1 cup currants
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 2 medium apples
- 50 ml Sortilège (Canadian maple whisky), brandy OR port
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- In a large saucepan, warm the apple cider and dissolve the sugar in it over low heat. Meanwhile, wash, core and finely chop the apples. Note: You can also grate the apple, if that is easier for you.
- Tip the whole cranberries into the pot (I used frozen) and stir to combine. Add cinnamon, ginger and allspice, along with the currants, raisins, dried cranberries and apple.
- Stir and simmer over medium low heat until it starts to darken and the mixture has absorbed most of the liquid, about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Take off the heat and add the whisky or port, maple syrup and honey. Beat well to incorporate everything and crush the cranberries slightly.
- Spoon into sterilized jars (a run through the dishwasher will do the trick), cover with lids and store in the refrigerator for several weeks.
- May also be frozen for up to three months.
Have you ever tried mincemeat? Is it something you look forward to over the holidays?