For the longest time, mincemeat was one of those things I never really understood. Based on its name, I always thought it contained actual meat, such as beef – but whenever I saw jars of mincemeat or mince pies advertised at the grocery store, they were always marketed sans meat and as an easy dessert option.
It wasn’t until I began canning that I learned there are more than a few different types of mincemeat filling – some with meat, some with fruit only, and some with a combination of both – and even more variations on recipes for each type. Mincemeat is a traditionally English recipe, though there are variations across the world now – from Australia to South Africa, to Canada and further. It’s been around since about the 15th century, which will tell you this is a pie filling with some staying power.
Since I was mainly interested in the sweet mince pies served around Christmas time, I set to work looking for a fruit mincemeat that would make a great filling for my holiday pies and bars. I made my own candied citrus peel for use in the recipe, but you can use store-bought if you’re short on time. Of course, feel free to use your own favorite spices and liquor as well – make your own variation on this tasty filling and start a new holiday tradition!
You don’t have to relegate mincemeat to only filling pies either. Consider baking it into a bar, serving it as an ice cream topping, or maybe even to go alongside goat cheese in mini phyllo dough cups for a sweet and savory appetizer. The sky is the limit with this tried and true recipe.
- 3 Orange – 1 1/3 cup de-seeded and ground
- 4 Meyer Lemons – 1/2 cup de-seeded and ground
- 1.25 Candied Citrus Peel chopped
- 8 Apple tart, diced
- 4 Cranberries
- 3.25 Golden Raisins
- 2.5 Raisins
- 2 Dried Currants
- 1 Dried Figs (Uncooked) chopped
- 2 Brown Sugar
- 4 Apple Cider
- 1 Cinnamon
- 2 Allspice
- 1 Nutmeg (Ground)
- 1 Ground Cloves
- 1 Ground Ginger
- 1 Kirsch Brandy
- To grind the oranges and lemons, first cut off the tops and bottoms of the fruit. Cut each fruit into quarters, and then use a knife to remove the seeds to and cut the fruit from the peel. Reserve the peel to make your own candied citrus peel, if desired. Place the flesh of the fruit in a food processor and grind until the texture is fine.
- In a large sauce pan, combine the ground oranges and lemons, candied peel, apples, cranberries, dried fruits, sugar, and apple cider. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and let simmer, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Stir in the spices and brandy and cook 10 minutes longer.
- Prepare your canning supplies. Bring the temperature of the glass jars up by processing them in hot water for several minutes, and heat a few cups of water in a small saucepan for the lids.
- Ladle the hot mincemeat into the hot jars, leaving 1/2″ headspace. Place the lids and bands on top, screwing on the bands just until fingertip-tight. Place the full jars back into the boiling water and process 30 minutes. Allow the jars to sit in the canner 5 minutes with the heat and lid off. Remove from the water and place the jars on a towel. Let the jars cool. The seals should suck down.