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Christmas coming, geese fattening... - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
wemyss
wemyss
Christmas coming, geese fattening...
... elderly beggars seeking pre-decimalisation pence.

Personally, all I want for Christmas is Harry Lloyd or a reasonable facsimile thereof. But in the Spirit of Giving, it's none too soon to begin considering other forms of mince than my preferences. Once again, then, I give you the family luxury mince recipe. You may as well begin getting ready, after all.

For six pounds of mincemeat:
1 lb peeled, cored, and minced apples: desserts or cookers. A West Country mix of Corsley Pippins and Profits would do nicely. Pitmaston Pines are lovely. If you take sweets exclusively, one crab in the lot would do you no harm at all.
2 oranges, grated rind and juice. You might add a Clementine as well.
2 lemons, grated rind and juice.
4 oz cut mixed peel (various citrus)
12 oz seedless raisins
8 oz sultanas
8 oz currants
4 oz chopped mixed dried fruit: dried apricots, dried pears, and dried plums (the dreaded prune)
8 oz shredded suet (and this is precisely where I lose the Americans)
12 oz soft brown (moist) sugar
4 oz chopped mixed nuts: the usual almonds-and-pecan-nuts – oddly American, that – are dull. Walnuts and hazelnuts work well.
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 oz chopped crystallised ginger
1 tablespoon mixed spice: make your own, with allspice, cinnamon, clove, ginger, and nutmeg all ground in roughly equal measure, to taste
5 fl oz brandy: and make it the good stuff. Armagnac or cognac, five-star. Separate the brandy into two equal measures.
Dashes of Madeira, port, and sherry

Reserving half the brandy, mix the ingredients well in a large ovenproof bowl and leave to stand overnight.

The next day, preheat the oven to 110 °C / 225 °F / Gas 1/4, cover the bowl with aluminium foil and place in the oven for about 3 hours.

Allow to cool, then mix in the rest of the brandy and put into jars that have been sterilised. Store and let stand for at least a fortnight; a month is better.


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32 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
taradiane From: taradiane Date: October 20th, 2011 03:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
8 oz shredded suet (and this is precisely where I lose the Americans)

I laughed.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: October 20th, 2011 04:24 pm (UTC) (Link)

But you're the clever one.

And it does make a damned good mince.
taradiane From: taradiane Date: October 20th, 2011 11:25 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: But you're the clever one.

My gran still uses lard in some recipes (it really does make the best pie crust) so a little suet doesn't bother me. Shall try this come winter!
tree_and_leaf From: tree_and_leaf Date: October 20th, 2011 04:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oooh. I'd never thought of trying walnuts.

I've been wondering about experimenting with some very nice apple brandy a friend brought back from Ampleforth, but it might be a bit too lacking in body.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: October 20th, 2011 04:28 pm (UTC) (Link)

Might be worth a try.

With a drop of marc to pump it up?
tree_and_leaf From: tree_and_leaf Date: October 20th, 2011 11:24 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Might be worth a try.

Ah, now that is an idea.
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: October 20th, 2011 04:18 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yeah, About That Suet...

And the apples. Those go into pies. The rest of it, though... it is time to start macerating the fruits for the dreaded Jamaican black fruitcake.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: October 20th, 2011 04:29 pm (UTC) (Link)

The recipe for which, I may add...

... is coveted. Ahem.
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: October 20th, 2011 05:02 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: The recipe for which, I may add...

It changes. I take a recipe like yours and then add and subtract according to what I'm feeling at the moment I order my fruits and walnuts. When they arrive, they go into a bowl with dark Jamaican rum to cover. This is around Halloween. The day after Thanksgiving (the last Friday in November) I make the cake, which is just enough batter to contain the fruits. I remove the baked cake from the pan, wash out the pan, and return the cake to it, pouring in enough Jamaican dark rum to soak it. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and leave it.

Add more rum as needed over the weeks until Christmas, at which point turn the cake onto a serving platter and display it until New Year's Eve. Then eat it.

When I was still in the Army, I used to send slabs of this stuff to female friends serving in the Middle East (along with toilet paper and nail polish). Culturally insensitive, I know, but I mean, being trapped on base because the locals would be offended by the sight of a female driving a truck? Please.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: October 20th, 2011 05:23 pm (UTC) (Link)

Oh, sod the sensitive. Well done.

Off to the greengrocer and the offy, then, for me. Sounds lovely.
tiferet From: tiferet Date: October 20th, 2011 05:50 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: The recipe for which, I may add...

I am so not getting how it's culturally insensitive to send people cake and nail polish, particularly if they are your friends and you know they want it.

(I am a feminist. I am really loudly a feminist. I have EXPENSIVE manicures. I currently have black cats on two of my nails and black lace on the other 8, over bright pink polish, and there is faint green glitter involved. If someone tells me getting my nails done is a luxury, I tell them that my fingers bleed if I don't have tips put on and hard gel applied to keep my naturally awful nails from splitting and breaking; if they tell me it's anti-feminist, I just shake my head and move on, because likely they will have the same opinion about my shoes and bags and dresses, whatever.)

Anyhow it is never culturally insensitive to send presents to people they want. And I know they wear nail polish in the Middle East, even if they have to hide it. I had friends who worked in Saudi for a while and there are some really amazing things that you see at house parties when the chadors and jilbabs come off...
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: October 20th, 2011 06:37 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: The recipe for which, I may add...

It's not the nail polish, it's the cake. Mostly rum, with a bit of fruit and cake to make it festive. Smuggling liquor into a Muslim country is a bit rude, but I think it's a bit rude to object to females being people.
tiferet From: tiferet Date: October 20th, 2011 09:11 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: The recipe for which, I may add...

I didn't think about that because I've never known anyone to get drunk from eating fruitcake. Huh.
tekalynn From: tekalynn Date: October 20th, 2011 04:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Proper mince!

Have you ever tried using minced meat in your mince mixture?
wemyss From: wemyss Date: October 20th, 2011 04:49 pm (UTC) (Link)

I have.

In little pastry coffins, as they were contemporaneously called.

Yet I hold w this, these days.
tiferet From: tiferet Date: October 20th, 2011 05:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
So I love pecans in everything (I eat pear and pecan salad at least twice a week), but boo to the almonds, agreed, hazelnuts and walnuts are so much nicer.

I'm okay with suet but not a huge fan of raisins. :/ So there, I am a Yank but a WEIRD one :)

How do you do your goose? I want to do one, they're lovely done right, but my mother could only ruin them. I will eat turkey cooked by seananmcguire but otherwise I'm not a fan, and my feelings about ham are well known--I am often tempted to sin by bacon but never by ham :p
wemyss From: wemyss Date: October 20th, 2011 05:46 pm (UTC) (Link)

Oddly enough...

... I'll be posting the goose recipe by tomorrow.
tiferet From: tiferet Date: October 20th, 2011 05:50 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Oddly enough...

<33333 I shall be on the lookout for it! <33333
sassy_cissa From: sassy_cissa Date: October 20th, 2011 06:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
....you really had me until the suet

But this looks yummy enough to try it. I need some new things to try. While the traditional menu is delightful...I admit I'm growing tired of it.

And the only time I've ever done anything with suet was to make bird feeder ball with the cub scouts. lol
wemyss From: wemyss Date: October 20th, 2011 09:23 pm (UTC) (Link)

You'll never know it's there.

Let me know how it goes for you.

And don't forget: cider here is 'hard' cider in the US. The alk is important to cut the fattiness.
germankitty From: germankitty Date: October 20th, 2011 08:18 pm (UTC) (Link)

Oooh, thanks!

Is that a mix I can put into mince pies?



In return -- there's this German thing my family used to make called "Rumtopf" -- literally, rum pot. (Rum as in, Jack Sparrow's tipple of choice. *g*)

Take a large pottery pot/bowl/container (glass will do in a pinch) with a well-fitting lid. Should hold ca. 5 litres altogether.

Start it off in May/June with a pound of strawberries and mix well with half a pound of sugar. Leave to set for an hour or so, then cover with good quality rum (80% alcohol is best) so that the liquid stands about a finger thick on top of the fruit. Store in a dark, cool place.

Continue the procedure with different fruits as the season(s) progress(es) -- all kinds of berries, plums, ap ... pretty much whatever strikes your fancy, but always in a ratio of half the amount of sugar to fruit. Leave the fruit as whole as possible -- don't pit cherries, for example, but halve/quarter, de-pit and skin apricots. Core, quarter and peel pears. Pretty much the last fruit of the season should be (pitted, halved or quartered, depending on size) plums.

NEVER STIR! Just pile each fruit/sugar mix on top of the previous layer and add more rum.

Leave for at least a month, and by late November/Advent, it's ready for consumption -- with ice cream, custard, over sponge cake ... or even have a tblsp or two of the mixture in a glass of bubbly. :) Cheers!

(Just bear in mind that the alcohol content in the fruit will be quite high ...)

Ideally, you'll be finished with the rum pot in time to start all over again with some nice, ripe, plump strawberries the next spring ...
wemyss From: wemyss Date: October 20th, 2011 09:24 pm (UTC) (Link)

Oh, SUPER. Vy obliging of you.

I shall want to get on with that so soon as soft fruits are back.

And, yes, this is for mince pies.
germankitty From: germankitty Date: October 20th, 2011 09:45 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Oh, SUPER. Vy obliging of you.

Great -- now all I need is an easy recipe for pie crust! (May try the ham, too ... depending on what the family thinks. :))

And you're welcome; I love sharing recipes like that!

If your family likes sweet-tasting alcohol -- to drink this time -- try this: Take two pound cans of sliced, drained peaches. Marinate several hours, or overnight, in a punch bowl with a bottle of sweet white wine; a Spätlese will do. Add shots of brandy, Grand Marnier or peach liqueur to taste. Before serving, add another bottle of the same wine and a bottle of champagne, thoroughly chilled. Serve immediately in cups with picks to get at the fruit. :) If peaches are too sweet, replace with pineapple and a slightly drier wine, or go pink with canned cherries and a medium rosé. Cheers! (Fresh fruit like strawberries work, too, but need to be sugared before and might require an infusion of strawberry syrup for flavor.) This is a very smooth, traditional "ladies'" drink, perfect for summer nights!
germankitty From: germankitty Date: October 20th, 2011 09:50 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Oh, SUPER. Vy obliging of you.

Oh, almost forgot -- if you like, you can also add a couple of cinnamon sticks and star anise pods once you're done with the last layer of fruit in the rum pot!
tree_and_leaf From: tree_and_leaf Date: October 20th, 2011 11:31 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Oooh, thanks!

Oh, Rumtopf! Mmm. (I second the recommendation).
blamebrampton From: blamebrampton Date: October 21st, 2011 12:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Suet gives a mouth feel that nothing else does. Though vegetarian suet is a decent alternative and butter fine in a pinch. Americans eat awful reclaimed meat, why they'd not eat suet is beyond me.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: October 21st, 2011 07:52 pm (UTC) (Link)

Butter is always good.

And given the British diet, I cast no stones at ANY of the Colonies. Even the convict ones.
blamebrampton From: blamebrampton Date: October 22nd, 2011 12:11 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Butter is always good.

Food was one of the reasons I stayed in Oz, it's terribly good here! Though vastly more expensive than it was when I moved over.
17catherines From: 17catherines Date: October 21st, 2011 01:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Ooh, lovely! I made this a couple of years ago, I think, and everyone commented on how lovely it was. I do recall having a lot of trouble finding suet at any of my local butchers (it didn't help that most of them do not have English as a first language, and I'm a little vague on precisely where suet comes from!) and eventually giving up and using butter instead (half of my in-laws are vegetarian, so it is probably a better idea anyway, though I know butter will not keep anywhere near as well). I think I also used dried cherries and dried figs and some dates, since we also have a few nut allergies in my circle of friends, and I had all these lovely Middle Eastern dried fruits in my pantry and couldn't resist!!

(oh dear, looking at that, I feel as though I'm saying "I took your recipe and changed everything, but it really is your recipe, not mine, because my standard fruitmince recipe is quite different...)
wemyss From: wemyss Date: October 21st, 2011 07:53 pm (UTC) (Link)

So long as it works.

Have at it, say I.
From: jennfic Date: October 21st, 2011 04:51 am (UTC) (Link)
I will have to try this one -- it's very similar to the one I usually use. I'd never thought about putting nuts in mince pies, though -- my mother's family wasn't big on nuts on anything other than quickbreads. Are they still crunchy?

The difficulty is that no-one in the extended family other than me likes mince pies.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: October 21st, 2011 07:53 pm (UTC) (Link)

That IS a shame.

And the nuts do preserve a crunch.
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