I've never been entirly convinced by homemade mincemeat in the past. I've tried many different recipes but quite honestly once it was surrounded by pastry I couldn't tell the difference between homemade or a good quality shop bought variety.
That is until I discovered this wonderful pear and ginger mincemeat with no added fat.
Which really is so good it could be eaten straight from the jar. It is a fragrant blend of fruit, nuts, sugar and spices with just the right amount of alcohol... and not a trace of suet in sight.
From the River Cottage Handbook No. 2 "Preserves" by Pam Corbin
Pear and Ginger Mincemeat
1 kg cooking apples, peeled, cored, chopped and cooked to a puree
Zest and juice of 2-3 oranges (you need 200ml juice)
500g ripe pears, peeled and finely chopped
100g crystallised stem ginger, finely chopped
100g orange marmalade
250g demerara sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 nutmeg, grated
50 ml ginger wine
100g chopped walnuts
50 ml brandy
Place all the prepared ingredients except the brandy into a large baking dish, give them a good stir and allow to stand for 12-24 hours. Preheat the oven to 130 deg C and bake the mincemeat, uncovered for 2 - 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Stir in the brandy and then spoon into sterilised jars, making sure there are no air pockets. Seal and store in a cool dark place.
This makes the perfect addition to my almond paste mince pies!
Although I'm planning to add some to ice-cream this year. Watch this space.