September Recipes – Making Mincemeat and Christmas Cake

I haven’t done much cooking this month as I have mostly been away but I am trying to be super prepared for Christmas this year! Gift lists have been drawn up, Christmas day veggies in the ground and growing nicely and I have been making my homemade mincemeat and Christmas Cake so I thought I’d share with you my recipes for these Christmas goodies so that if you want to have a go – you have plenty of time to get them made!

Mincemeat

I make mincemeat early because I like to give it time for the flavours to meld together in the jar! I also use rum instead of brandy for my mincemeat. I don’t like the taste of alcohol but if I have to use it I generally prefer to use rum (this comes from my love of rum truffles!) My recipe is based on Delia Smith’s recipe but have changed the method slightly and added a few extra ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 450g apples, peeled, cored and chopped into small pieces
  • 50g flaked almonds, roughly chopped
  • 4 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 100ml rum
  • 225g shredded suet
  • 350g raisins
  • 225g sultanas
  • 225g currants
  • 225g candied peel
  • 50g glace cherries, chopped into small pieces
  • 350g soft dark brown sugar
  • grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • juice of 2 oranges

Start by combining the raisins, currants and sultanas in a bowl. Pour over the rum, orange juice and add the zest and juice of the lemon. Mix together thoroughly.

Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave the dried fruit to soak in the liquid for 1 hour.

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Meanwhile, mix the shredded suet, candied peel, glace cherries, spices, almonds and sugar in a bowl. Mix thoroughly.

Once the dried fruit has been soaking for an hour, chop the apples and add the the ingredients together mixing thoroughly. If you chop the apples to early they can go brown very quickly so I prefer to chop them just before they need to go into the mincemeat. You know the mincemeat is thoroughly mixed as the sugar will dissolve into the liquid and all the ingredients should be evenly coated.

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Pack the mincemeat into hot sterilised glass jars and store in a cool dry place until needed.

I will share my mince pie recipe with you nearer Christmas!

Christmas cake

My Christmas cake recipe is a recipe from Mary Berry and can be found here. Again I have substituted the brandy for rum!

Ingredients:

  • 175g raisins
  • 350g natural glacé cherries, halved, rinsed, and thoroughly dried
  • 500g 2oz currants
  • 350g sultanas
  • 150ml rum, plus extra for feeding
  • 2 oranges, zest only
  • 250g butter, softened
  • 250g light muscovado sugar
  • 4 free-range eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp black treacle
  • 75g blanched almonds, chopped
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1½ tsp mixed spice

Place all the dried fruit, including the cherries, into a large mixing bowl.

 

Pour over the rum and stir in the orange zest. Cover with clingfilm. Mary suggests leaving to soak for three days but I left it for 5 days. Ensure you stir daily

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Grease and line a 23cm deep, round tin with a double layer of greased greaseproof paper. Preheat the oven to 140C.

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Measure the butter, sugar, eggs, treacle and almonds into a very large bowl and beat well . Add the flour and ground spice and mix thoroughly until blended. Stir in the soaked fruit.

Spoon into the prepared cake tin and level the surface.

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Bake in the centre of the preheated oven for about 3-4 hours (Mary suggests longer but I think you should check it regularly), or until the cake feels firm to the touch and is a rich golden brown. Check after two hours, and if the cake is a perfect colour, cover with foil. A skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the tin.

 

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When cool, pierce the cake at intervals with a fine skewer and feed with a little extra rum. Wrap the completely cold cake in a double layer of grease-proof paper and store in an air tight container for up to three months, feeding at intervals with more rum. I store mine under the bed!

I shall ice and decorate the cake a few days before Xmas and will post an update then!

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