Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Expat Christmas Mincemeat

Living in Alsace, France, right on the border with Germany I am lucky that I can buy my food from either country. I love the selection of foods in the supermarkets in both countries, but it's only when you try to make something on the lead up to Christmas, like mince pies, that you realise just how British they are.

Firstly, you need a jar of mincemeat. Hmmm, nowhere to be found. Then you need some large round cutters to cut out the pastry. Strangely, I couldn't find them in France or Germany - only very small circles or bigger star shaped ones. I solved that problem by ordering some off Amazon UK. So, for the mincemeat issue, the only thing to do was to make my own. I decided to follow the Delia recipe. So far so good. Alas, there is no suet (animal or vegetarian) available in France or Germany and also no Bramley apples! I would not let this beat me. I adapted the list of ingredients to what I had available to me as an expat and below is my Christmas Mincemeat recipe.

I cycled across the Rhine to Edeka supermarket to buy all my ingredients.

  • 1 large Belle de Boskoop apple, cored and chopped up small (sharper than most eating apples and closest to a Bramley)
  • 110g of butter
  • 175g Brauner Zucker (soft brown sugar doesn't seem to exist, only expensive muscavado, which you can use if you want to)
  • Grated zest and juice of one orange and one lemon
  • 125g Rum Rosinen (rum soaked raisins)
  • 100g Sultaninen (sultanas)
  • 100g Korinthen (currants)
  • 50g Aprikosen (dried apricots - chopped up small)
  • 50g Cranberries (chopped)
  • 100g Orangeat gewuerfelt (chopped candied peel)
  • 25g Mandeln blanchiert, gestiftelt (slivered almonds)
  • 2 level teaspoons of Lebkuchen Gewuerz (closest thing to allspice I could find. Apparently it does exist and is called Nelkenpfeffer)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • Generous grating of nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons of brandy (I chose Mariacron Weinbrand)


Lovely Le Parfait 340ml jars

  • 3 350ml preserving jars (I used slightly smaller ones, but love these Le Parfait ones which I picked up in Alsace Coop for only €6 for a pack of 6)
  • A large mixing bowl
  • Mixing spoon
  • Oven proof dish 
  • Silver foil
  • Grater
  • Citrus juicer
  • Zellglas (this is optional, but I cut this see-through film into circles, soaked it in some brandy then laid it on the top of my mincemeat in the jar before sealing. It is supposed to keep the contents fresher and help with preserving)


Put all of the ingredients in your large mixing bowl, except for the brandy, and stir it up really well, making sure the butter doesn't clump. Leave this mixture to soak over night. The next day, transfer the mix into your oven proof dish. Put some foil on the top and put it in the oven at 120C for 3 hours. When it comes out it will look like this:

Baked mincemeat - smells fabulous!
Give it a good stir and come back from time to time to stir again as it cools down. When it is cold add the brandy and stir. Take your sterilised jars (you can do this by washing them by hand then putting them in the oven at 180C for 5 minutes or if you have a dishwasher, put them on a 30 minute wash and then let them cool down) and spoon in the mincemeat, making sure to eliminate air bubbles by putting the spoon in and wiggling it around. When the jars are full, put the disc of Zellglas on the top and screw the lid tight. Pop them in the fridge or in a cool dark cupboard. They should keep for a decent length of time.

Ta da! Finished jars of mincemeat. Looking forward to making mincepies now.
Once I had made my mincemeat I sat down to finish my first Christmas card. What a successful festive day :)

Joyeux Noel!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to comment - I really appreciate it :)