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25 Days of Shanghai Christmas: Dec 6 Make Your Own Fruit Mince

Fruit mince pies are an unbreakable Christmas tradition in our house, but although I make the pastry myself, I have always relied on very expensive jars of Robertsons Fruit Mince (imported from England!) for the filling. I always wanted to make my own, but somehow the thought of having to grate suet – beef fat – really turned me off. Enter Australian food-writer Matthew Evans, who, last Christmas, published this incredibly easy, suet-free recipe in The Sydney Morning Herald  as one of his ‘Any Fool Can Cook…..’ series. It’s so easy, and so delicious, I’m kicking myself for never having explored home-made fruit mince before. The flavour will improve with time, so I’m making the mince now and the tarts next week. On a cold winter’s day there is nothing that feels more like Christmas than biting into a hot, fragrant fruit mince tart fresh from the oven. 





Modern Fruit Mince
Recipe by Matthew Evans 

Ingredients

  • 100g currants
  • 100g sultanas
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Grand Marnier or brandy
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 apple
  • 100g walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1-2 teaspoons mixed spice

Method

  • Wash and scrub the lemon. Squeeze, reserving the juice.
  • Place the lemon skin in a saucepan of cold water, bring to the boil.
  • Simmer until soft enough to puree, about 45-60 minutes, changing water twice.
  • Drain well and puree in a blender/food processor until smooth.
  • Toss the currants, sultanas and sugar with the Grand Marnier or brandy, then warm gently in a low oven to plump up the fruit. (or heat together in the microwave for 1-2 minutes covered with plastic wrap, and allow to sit for 20 minutes)
  • Grate the apple coarsely into a bowl and add the reserved lemon juice.
  • Combine all the ingredients and allow to sit overnight in the fridge.
  • Add more Grand Marnier or brandy if it looks dry (especially if storing).
  • Although not in the recipe, Matthew Evans advises adding a good lug of extra virgin olive oil at the end. I’m going to try half with, and half without.
  • Can be stored in sterilised jars for several months.