How to make homemade fruit mince

All your questions about fruit mince, answered, with plenty of time to make it for Christmas! It's so easy, why not make your own fruit mince tarts this year.

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Tips for making home-made fruit mince

What's more Christmassy than a sweet spiced mince pie? The rich fruits with crumbly pastry and a touch of brandy butter or custard - it's a flavour that you dream about all year round, and it's even better when it's home-made. Making fruit mincemeat is actually very easy, especially now that dried fruits are so readily available. Get tips and tricks for making fruit mince at home plus an easy recipe.
What is fruit mince made of?
Traditional fruit mince, also called fruit mincemeat, starts with a mixture of chopped dried fruit such as currants, raisins and figs, mixed with fresh apple and orange zest. Classic Christmas spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves are added, as well as a spirit such as brandy, rum or sherry for flavour and as a preserver. Brown sugar is added and it may be simmered with orange or apple juice. Suet (beef fat) used to be added to fruit mincemeat, but nowadays butter is used instead. Butter enriches the fruit mince and makes it more decadent.
Why is it called mincemeat?
Fruit mincemeat has 'meat' in the name because it was originally made with finely chopped beef, pork, mutton or venison. This was then mixed with chopped up fruit and a preserving liquid and served in large pies. This recipe changed over the years to omit the meats, and it is now more often referred to as simply 'fruit mince'.
How far ahead do you need to make fruit mince?
Fruit mince can be made the day it is needed, however fruit mince flavour improves with age. The flavours deepen and become rich and complex, which is why it’s often made months in advance.
How long will home-made fruit mince keep?
Spoon your fruit mince into a sterilised jar and store in a cool place in the pantry. It will last for up to 6 months. Alternatively, if you refrigerate it it will keep for up to 1 year.
Homemade fruit mince recipe
Prep time: 15 minutes + 40 minutes cooling
Cook time: 10 minutes
  • 1 green-skinned apple, peeled, coarsely grated
  • 1 cup (160 g) sultanas
  • 3⁄4 cup (125 g) pitted prunes, chopped
  • 3⁄4 cup (110 g) raisins
  • 1⁄2 cup (80 g) currants
  • 1⁄2 cup (100 g) red glace cherries, chopped
  • 1⁄4 cup (60 mL) dry sherry or dark rum (optional, see tip)
  • 1 orange, rind finely grated and juiced
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 50 g Western Star Chef’s Choice Unsalted Cultured Butter, chilled
  • 1/3 cup (75 g) firmly packed brown sugar
Combine apple, dried fruit, sherry, orange rind and juice, mixed spice and 1 cup water in a saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes until liquid has been absorbed. Set aside for 40 minutes to cool to room temperature. Coarsely grate butter over fruit mince. Add brown sugar and stir well to combine.
How to use fruit mince
There are so many delectable ways to use fruit mince and it keeps well for so long, why not make a double batch of it and use it in these creative ways?
  • Crumble - add some fruit mince to your favourite crumble recipe
  • Pavlova - scatter it on top of a festive pavlova with whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon sugar
  • Slice - instead of adding jam to a slice, spread a layer of fruit mince
  • Festive butter - make a Christmas compound butter by stirring it through soft butter to spread on panettone, croissants or toast
  • Jam drops - the next time you bake thumbprint or jam drop biscuits, swap the jam for fruit mince (careful it doesn't burn)
  • Fruit mince cake - swirl it through a butter cake or muffin recipe
  • Ice cream - mix through softened store-bought ice cream or top this Brown Butter Ice Cream with it
  • Pancakes - add it to pancake batter for yummy Boxing Day pancakes
More Christmas ideas
Check out more Christmas dessert recipes below to get inspiration for your festive feast.
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