Now Halloween and Bonfire Night are over my thoughts turn to Christmas preparations. Mid November is the perfect time for making preserves so that they have time to mature and develop their full flavour by Christmas.
Mince pies are my favourite Christmas food but only if they are homemade using homemade mincemeat. If this year you make your own mincemeat, even if you use ready made pastry for your mince pies I guarantee that you will never buy your mince pies again. Slow cooker orange mincemeat is very easy to make and is well worth the effort.
Slow Cooker Orange MincemeatCourse: PuddingCuisine: BritishDifficulty: Easy
5One Pound Jars
1 pound / 450 grams cooking apples (Bramleys)
8 ounces / 225 grams shredded suet (beef or vegetable)
8 ounces / 225 grams raisins
8 ounces / 225 grams currants
8 ounces / 225 grams sultanas
8 ounces / 225 grams mixed peel
8 ounces soft dark brown sugar
4 oranges zest and juice
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground all spice
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
4 tablespoons Cointreau (or brandy or rum)
- Core your apples and cut into small pieces. No need to peel.
- Put them into a large bowl with the dried fruit, suet and sugar and mixed peel.
- Add the spices, orange zest and juice.
- Stir well.
- Cover and leave in a cool place for at least 12 hours for the flavours to develop and mingle.
- Now stir the mixture again and transfer the contents of the bowl to your slow cooker and cook on low for about 2 hours until the suet has melted and coated all the fruit. This will improve the keeping qualities of the mincemeat by helping to prevent any fermentation.
- Remove from the slow cooker and stir in the Cointreau (or brandy or rum) which also helps to preserve the mincemeat.
- Spoon into sterilised jam jars. You should be able to fill 5 one pound jars.
- Each jar of mincemeat should be enough for 12 mince pies so this quantity of mincemeat should make about 60 mince pies.
- Store your mincemeat in a cool place until Christmas. It will keep for up to a year but in my house it is usually used up by twelfth night.
- I use beef suet because traditionally mince pies were made with meat and the suet is the last remnant of this tradition.
- If you would like to make some mincemeat with meat you can find a recipe in ‘Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management‘ first published in 1861. She suggests you make it at the beginning of December. Vegetable suet can of course be used instead of beef suet.
- I use all oranges in my recipe which is why I prefer to use Cointreau instead of brandy or rum. Many recipes use both oranges and lemons and you may like to try substituting two lemons for two of the oranges. I actually started to use all oranges when I had forgotten to buy lemons and used the Cointreau because I had run out of brandy. I liked the resulting mincemeat so much that I have continued to use all oranges and the Cointreau.
Orange Pastry for Slow Cooker Orange Mincemeat
In December I will give you my recipe for the orange pastry I use for mince pies. I only make this pastry at Christmas for mince pies and use my mother’s recipe for rich shortcrust pastry for pies during the rest of the year.