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It's Christmas!

Time to make Christmas puddings and mincemeat using this year's bumper crop of apples. 

Has anyone ever made traditional mincemeat using chopped beef as one of the ingredients?
Does anyone cook their mincemeat before storing it? I never have.

I have already put my homemade candied fruit peel under a mix of whisky, there was only a small amount in the bottom of a large bottle so used it up,  and brandy, to soak as it was rather hard and dry. I have done a chef's taste test this morning and it is softening nicely and tastes good enough to eat!
I have always made my own mincemeat but stopped making puddings years ago. I am girding my loins to make a pudding this year so my son-in-law can compare the difference between a shop-bought and a homemade one.


  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 9,565
    I use Delia Smith's mincemeat recipe - no meat unless you count the suet, but I use the veggie "suet" anyway. You mix all the ingredients except the brandy together, put it in a big pyrex dish or similar and put it in a very very slow oven until the suet has melted, then stir in the brandy and put it in hot sterilised jars. The theory is that the melted suet coats all the other ingredients and prevents the apples from fermenting. I won't be making any this year because I have enough left from last year I think (must check). It keeps really well.
    Two Christmas cakes made last weekend (must remember to feed them).
    I don't bother making puddings. OH doesn't like it. I find the shop-bought ones are OK and actually prefer the less expensive ones. My parents brought a Tesco Finest one once and none of us really liked it - it had a slightly bitter taste and whole almonds which didn't go down well with my dad's teeth.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • UffUff Posts: 3,199
    Well since we are talking about mincemeat, I have a jar of home made in the cupboard from last year. Plenty of brandy in it so is it still fit to eat does anyone know?
    SW SCOTLAND but born in Derbyshire
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 9,565
    Mine is just as good the second year. It's never lasted longer than that but I think if the jars are sealed it would keep longer.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • B3B3 Posts: 26,434
    There's been a Christmas pudding at the back of the cupboard for a couple or three years. We never have room for it on the day and it's too big for two of us so it just sits there beside some even older jars of mincemeat. All shop bought, I'm afraid.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 10,899
    Uff said:
    Well since we are talking about mincemeat, I have a jar of home made in the cupboard from last year. Plenty of brandy in it so is it still fit to eat does anyone know?
    I made Mary Berry's mincemeat a few years ago and it was far better the 2nd year even though it was just kept in a cupboard.
    I'm sure the alcohol preserved it.
    If it smells good and boozy I'd use it :)

    Billericay - Essex

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • I have always thought Christmas Pudding is more enjoyable in the middle of summer! We never have enough room for any after a big dinner at Christmas. 
    I have used mincemeat many years old, beautiful, same with puddings. As long as they are well sealed and the pud. well steamed after being made they should keep for years. Enough sugar and alcohol should preserve them.
    One year all of my mincemeat fermented in the jars, I decided it was because my husband had been fermenting homemade wine in the kitchen. I just added extra sugar when I cooked the mincemeat, it was too strong with alcohol for the kids otherwise.
    I thought the melted suet would act as a seal when it solidified.
    When I was a child my grandmother used to make a lot of jam. It was quite usual to open a jar a couple of years old, peel off the grey layer of mould then eat and enjoy.

    I have had a turn out of my store cupboards to unearth any open packets of dried fruit and nuts. Plenty of alcohol available to use up.
  • Never had any problem keeping home made mincemeat for a few years.  Usually use Brandy in mine.
    @B3 your pud is but a youngster - mine will celebrate it's 5th birthday this year.  Like yours, it was a bought one - from Tesco I think.  Sat happily in the pantry on the top shelf but just recently I've heard some muttering in there so presume it's getting fed up.  Maybe time to put it out of it's misery this year  :D  
  • Red mapleRed maple Posts: 885
    I usually make a Christmas pudding each year, but as I have a home made one in the fridge from last year, plus one from a hamper, I shan’t make one this year. 

    I’ve made Delian’s mincemeat in the past, and it’s kept very well, but, as with one of the puddings, I have a jar in the cupboard from a hamper, so will use that up this year, maybe add a dash of brandy to it if it looks a bit dry.

    I’ll be making Delia’s Dundee cake with added whisky (my tweak on the recipe), for a Christmas cake early December so it doesn’t get too dry, and feed it with extra whisky each week until Christmas. We find the rich fruit cakes a bit too heavy for us so they tend not to get completely eaten up, whereas the Dundee cake does.
  • nick615nick615 Posts: 1,458
    When I worked for a company that made Christmas puddings, all the unsold ones were put in storage and brought out the following year as 'Vintage' in different wrappers.
  • My Grandmother used Muscatel raisins in her Christmas recipes. Huge fat raisins that needed to be cut in half, The flavour was completely different from the raisins available today. (Must go online and see if I can find some). She also used beef dripping from the butcher which needed to be chopped, again, it had a distinctive flavour.
    My daughter has taken over the reins from me, making a family Christmas cake that we share between us. She made the cake this last weekend and will "feed" it each week with brandy. I usually make the almond paste to decorate it, shop bought marzipan is so strong, we prefer the homemade version. I did in days gone by, used to make extra almond paste make petit fours to box up and give as gifts, painting them by hand to colour them.
    Another dish I made I started when the kids went back to School in Sept. I went to the local market and over the weeks, bought reduced, fully ripe, or slightly damaged, exotic fruits. I cubed them and layered them with sugar in an ice cream tub and brought it out after Christmas dinner as a wonderful, fresh fruit salad which the kids preferred. I also used to prepare Brussel sprouts, parboil parsnips, and potatoes during the autumn, storing them in the freezer. It saved so much time and effort on Christmas Day.
    I must have wanted something to do!
    Nor can I believe how organised I must have been.
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