If watching James Martin making mincemeat and mince pies on This Morning didn’t get you in the mood for festive recipes and plenty of baking, then we don’t know what will!
Of course, if you’re a lover of mince pies, they are mouth watering in themselves, but when it’s a celeb Chef perfectly preparing them too, it’s even better.
So we thought we’d share some of James Martin’s top facts about traditional mincemeat and how to make your own at home this year, as well as another of our favourite classic mincemeat recipes.
1. Home made is always best
This might come as a surprise, or not, but apparently there is set to be a shortage of mincemeat this year, which means it might be tough getting your hands on the goods! It’s not loo roll, but mincemeat is just as important as a traditional Christmas cake at this time of year so once again, home made is the way forward so that no one misses out!
2. You can keep your own for up to a year
Yep, one of the takeaway pieces of info we picked up, was that those far out expiry dates on shop bought mincemeat are genuine and that you can keep even home made mincemeat for up to a year if kept in a sterilised jar – very handy.
3. Mince pies can be frozen ahead of the big day
If you’re feeling adventurous and want to try out his now very famous James Martin’s mince pies then you can find the recipe online and you can freeze them in time for Christmas. That’s festive prep made easy.
4. Mincemeat has been around for 600 years
It’s an age old traditional Christmas recipe which comes with a little history too… Brace yourself, but much like the name implies, mincemeat did actually used to have chopped steak in it.
James Martin’s recipe features sugar, sultanas, raisins, cranberries, mixed peel, dried grapes, dried mulberries, nutmeg, cinnamon, all spice, suet (more on this next) and brandy so, it’s thankfully a modern take on tradition, with no actual steak in sight.
5. You can use veg suet if your prefer
Indeed, to make it 100 per cent vegetarian, you can absolutely use vegetarian suet. Just mix all of your ingredients together and store it in a sterilised Kilner jar until you're ready to use it.
Home made mincemeat recipe
This recipe is courtesy of Tesco and features some additional ingredients like grated apple for even more texture.
- 2 grated apples with the skin on
- 500g dried mixed fruit (Jame Martin’s recipe called for sultanas, raisins, cranberries, mixed peel, dried grapes and dried mulberries)
- 60g chopped glacier cherries (optional/sub for 60g of fruit above)
- 60g chopped almonds (also optional)
- 175g soft dark brown sugar
- 2tbsp golden syrup
- zest and juice of 1 orange and 1 lemon
- 100g shredded vegetarian or beef suet
- 2tsp mixed spice
- 4tbsp brandy, Amaretto or rum
How to make mincemeat
1. Start by sterilising your jars by washing them thoroughly and warming them in the oven, or putting them through the dishwasher.
2. Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly in a large bowl (kids can help with this!) and cover it with clingfilm overnight for the flavours to blend together, or transfer it straight to your sterilised jars as James Martin does.