Orchard Magic for Christmas

“Make Christmas Mincemeat” is one of the things noted in my calendar for this week…

… so I am going to start by sharing my discovery from this time last year: my “Meadow Orchard Christmas Mincemeat”.


Inspired by Frances Bissell’s recipe for what she calls Winter Jam (in The Scented Kitchen by Frances Bissell, Serif Books – see My Basket of Books, 22 May 2014…), which is essentially a version of Christmas mincemeat (and for the Germans reading this, no, this no longer has ANYTHING to do with ‘Hackfleisch’, minced meat or any other kind of meat!!) held together not by suet (or butter) or brandy, but suspended in apple jelly…

… perfect for using up the last of the windfalls (whether apples, pears or quinces if you have them)…

Making it now will also put you well ahead with your Christmas preparations!

I confess to having been presumptuous enough to have ‘tweeked’ Frances Bissell’s recipe to fit my pragmatism but I do give her and Serif Books full credit for the inspiration!

Here you go:

Meadow Orchard Christmas Mincemeat

Inspired by The Scented Kitchen, Frances Bissell and Serif Books!

Prep. Time: about 45 minutes

Cooking time: about 30 minutes plus overnight straining

Makes about 2.5 kg (approx. 6 x 400 g jars)


(together with a few pears and quinces if you have them)       1.8- 2kg

Water                                                                                        1.5kg

Dried cranberries                                                                      400g

Dates, stoned                                                                           300g

Candied peel                                                                           100g

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

Zest and juice of 1 orange

Orange flower water                                                                5 Tbsp

Cardamom, ground                                                                 ¼ tsp

Cinnamon, ground                                                                  ½ tsp

Anis, ground                                                                           ½ tsp

Preserving sugar                                                                    1kg

Hazelnuts, chopped                                                                150g

Flaked almonds                                                                      150g

For the apple extract:

  1. Cut your apples, pears and quinces into wedges, place in a large saucepan with the water and simmer until soft and pulpy, mashing with a potato masher a couple of times during cooking.
  2. Place the pulp in a jelly bag suspended between the legs of an upturned chair or stool and leave to strain into a bowl overnight. You should have about 1.3 litres of liquid after straining.

For the Christmas mincemeat:

  1. Chop the cranberries and dates into small pieces or thin slivers.
  2. Add everything except the nuts to the apple extract in a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes. Skim the surface and then add the nuts.
  4. Boil for a further 5 minutes until the mixture reaches setting consistency and then pour into hot, sterilised jars and seal.

A lighter but still very fragrant and Christmassy mincemeat: use it for Christmas mince pies, for a seasonal apple pie or for festive apple muffins…



9 thoughts on “Orchard Magic for Christmas

  1. Darn! I literally just made 2 different versions of mincemeat earlier this morning BEFORE reading this post. Will need to bookmark this one for next year! I like the idea of using windfalls and this spice combination (love cardamom) sounds divine.


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