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Julia’s Pantry: Instant Mincemeat for delicious mince pies


We decided somewhat on the spur of the moment to make mince pies. They’re perfect for Christmas and New Year’s eve. In the UK the little pies are a tradition which goes back to the middle ages when people believed they would bring good luck. They’re not a thing in France but all my French friends love them when I share them!

Ideally you would make your mincemeat ahead and let it mature but we didn’t have time and this is a simple recipe that is delicious, easy to make and ready to use straight away! You can keep it in a sterilised jar for up to 6 months in the fridge and use it any time, not just at Christmas.

Ingredients for 24 mince pies

200g mixed dried fruit (sultanas, raisins, currants and fruit peel)
2 grated sweet apples (peeled)
Juice and grated zest of an orange and a small lemon
2 Tablespoons olive oil, or melted butter or shredded beef suet (the latter is the traditional method)
¼-½ a nutmeg – grated or ½ teaspoon of nutmeg powder
3 Tablespoons of brandy
50g almonds, toasted and roughly chopped (optional)


Home made mince piesPut all the dried fruit in a pan with the citrus juice and rind, apples and oil/butter/suet.

Bring to the boil then cover the pan and simmer for 15 minute.  Add water to keep it moist if necessary and stir from time to time. The mix should be very thick so don’t add too much water and if it’s too runny remove the lid and let the liquid reduce down.

Leave the fruit mix to cool then add the grated nutmeg and stir in the brandy and almonds and – it’s ready to use!

Bon appétit

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