Made from chopped dried fruits, nuts, spices, and usually a distilled spirit, this mincemeat recipe is a versatile fruit filling for a wide range of holiday baked goods. Think panettone, stollen, babka, Christmas steamed pudding, fruitcake, fruit scones, and mince pies. Like a good wine, this dense mix only improves with age and ideally should be made a minimum of 2 weeks to 2 months before use. The dried fruits and nuts get a chance to steep and soften, and the flavors deepen and meld into a delicious, aromatic filling. You can use brandy, whiskey, rum, or even port wine as the spirit. The alcohol acts as a preservative and the fruit filling can be stored tightly covered in a cool corner of the kitchen. After the curing period, it will keep for at least a month in the refrigerator.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced on a mandoline
- 1 orange, thinly sliced on a mandoline
- 1⁄2 cup currants
- 1⁄4 cup dried cherries
- 1⁄4 cup dried cranberries
- 1⁄4 cup dried pear
- 1⁄2 cup dried apricot
- 1⁄2 cup sliced almonds
- 1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1⁄4 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
- 1⁄8 tsp. ground cloves
- 1⁄8 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
- 1⁄8 tsp. ground cardamom
- 1 cup brandy
- Make the candied citrus: Combine sugar and 1 cup water in a 4-qt saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves completely, about 5 minutes. Add lemon and orange slices and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and reserve the citrus syrup for another use. Discard seeds and chop the drained fruit. Set aside.
- Finely chop the dried fruit using a sharp knife or by pulsing for 2 minutes in a food processor. Combine in a nonreactive mixing bowl. Rough chop the almonds and add to the bowl. Roughly chop ½ cup of the reserved candied citrus and add to the bowl. Add spices and fully incorporate using your hands or a rubber spatula. Pour in the brandy and mix well to incorporate. Cover using an airtight lid or wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Stir every few days, always replacing airtight covering.
Note: The reserved citrus syrup can be used as a glaze for your baked goods. It can be stored refrigerated for up to a month.