I’ve always fancied making my own mincemeat but, until now, found it to be ready available in supermarkets. Germany has markets and stores full of festive specialities but, alas, mincemeat is proving tricky to find. Upon muttering that I needed to buy dried fruit for preparing ‘mincemeat’, my husband looked alarmed and asked me why I would want to blend beef with sultanas. It’s only just starting to dawn on me that Mince Pies are pretty much exclusive to the UK and, with this in mind, I endeavour to introduce these festive, fruity little pastries to my nearest and dearest here in Deutschland.
As a child I hated them, I used to scrape the evil raisins and sultanas out and pile brandy butter into the pastry cavity. I’ve also eaten more shop-bought, long life, highly processed ‘mince pies of the stodgy-pastry variety’ than I care to admit; they always seemed to appear at office parties, school plays and late night shopping events despite being, essentially, quite horrid. The best pies, of course, are made by my Grandmother (who may or may not use shortening to make her pastry). They are always dainty, crumbly and never too sweet. I still can’t bring myself to like the bitter, ‘grown-up’ tones of a Christmas pudding but I can certainly scarf three warm mince pies on the trot if my Grandmother sets them down in front of me.
This year I’m fending for myself. I will be embracing a German Christmas, no doubt chock full of Glühwein, Lebkuchen and plenty of Plätzchen, but minus some traditional home comforts. I’ve been creative with my mincemeat, seeing it as artistic licence to add whatever the hell I liked, and added chopped, sour cherries, slivered almonds and a good slug of almond liqueur. I’ve dubbed it ‘Marzipan Mincemeat’ and hope for subtle, ‘bakewell’ tones should all go well.
125g sour cherries
35g mixed peel
125g chopped granny smith apple
50g slivered almonds
grated zest 1 whole orange
grated zest 1 whole lemon
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon allspice
125g dark brown muscovado sugar
125ml almond liqueur (such as Amaretto)
- Thoroughly wash your jars in soapy water before drying in a 120°C oven for 15-20 minutes.
- Chop all of the fruit to a similar size and add to a bowl with the spices, almonds, candied peel and spices.
- Add the butter, almond liqueur and brown sugar to a pan and heat gently to dissolve the sugar.
- Pour the hot sugar/liqueur mixture over the dry ingredients and stir well.
- Remove the jars from the oven, careful not to touch the inside.
- Distribute the mince pie mixture evenly between the jars and seal.
- Store for up to 3 weeks before using. Mince pie recipe to follow!