A quick, easy and vegan version of this traditional Christmas mincemeat recipe, full of flavour and surprisingly versatile.
We really love Christmas and over the past few years we’ve started to make more and more Christmas recipes – from cakes, puddings and biscuits, to truffles and we particularly enjoy mixing up our own mincemeat. It’s such a lovely opportunity to get the kids involved too.
Mincemeat is quick and easy to make and the advantage of making your own is that you can taste every single ingredient – all the dried fruits, fresh apple, spices and whichever tipple or fresh juice you decide to add. We much prefer our homemade mincemeat to shop-bought as we can prioritise the flavour of the mincemeat rather than it just being a sickly sweet goo.
We think once you start to make your own you won’t look back – just choose your favourite pastry and get making those mince pies.
What is mincemeat?
Over 500 years ago mincemeat was used as a way of preserving meat. Traditionally it contained a mixture of meat and fruits with vinegar or wine that was used as the preservative.
Mincemeat is a traditionally British recipe and over the centuries has evolved – in the 18th century, liquor such as brandy or rum began to be used instead of the vinegar or wine. Then animal suet started to be used instead of meat and now mincemeat has become a sweet fruity recipe.
We love the rich mix of dried fruit and in this recipe we use – currants, sultanas, mixed fruit, cranberries, dates and apricots but if you don’t have all of these or prefer something else you could add any of the following – just make sure you end up with the same quantities of dried fruit.
The scent of the spices is heavenly and the warming blend of ground cinnamon, mixed spice, ground nutmeg and ground ginger simply shout-out ring the bells it’s Christmas!
We use vegan suet and it works equally as well as the animal-based version, this is now easy to find in most supermarkets.
Do I have to use alcohol in the mincemeat?
Of course, it is lovely to add a little tipple of your favourite alcohol to your mincemeat, – we’ve used a combination of sherry and brandy but you could add amaretto, cognac or rum. But alcohol is not for everyone and we always make a non-alcoholic batch of mincemeat using fresh orange juice or you could use apple juice – the children often prefer this and more importantly, Sarahs’ son cannot have alcohol after his liver transplant.
How long to leave your mincemeat before using?
The great thing about this mincemeat recipe is that it will taste delicious if you use it straight away or leave it to mature for a week or three or even the whole year.
How to store
Store the vegan mincemeat in a sterilised sealed jar and keep in a cool, dark place.
If you have made the vegan mincemeat with alcohol it will last for at least a year – we often make a double batch so that the mincemeat can mellow and develop and then the moment we have that seasonal desire for a mince pie or a mince pie tart we are ready to go.
If making with fresh orange juice use within a month.
Alternative recipes using mincemeat
This mincemeat isn’t just for traditional mince pies – we’ve spooned it into our Mince Pie Brownies, to raise your mince pie game, add a teaspoonful of your favourite chocolate spread with a teaspoon of mince to the filling of a mince pie (these are chocolate orange) or simply stir a spoonful into your morning porridge – to give it a touch of the festive spirit.