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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 


  • 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


  • 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. 

  • shaz

    Hi Fiona, been so busy haven't had time to duck over and see what you've been up to. Coincidentally I'm about to embark on my first ever attempt at making my own fruit mince. Hope it turns out as brilliantly as this!

  • Fiona

    Good luck Shaz! It's such a busy time of year! Are you going to use suet in your fruit mince?

  • Robyn

    …so what day are the tarts being made???

  • Fiona

    Hahaha!! Promise I'll let you know in advance so you can come and help out 😉