By Teresa Cutter
What's great about it
Every year I make my own fruit mince so that I can create my own delicious fruit mince pies over the Christmas break. This fruit mince is very simple to make yourself and so much lovelier and healthier than store-bought versions from the supermarket. The secret is all in the apples you choose. Make sure to go for sweet varieties such as golden delicious, pink lady or fuji as they will create the perfect balance of flavour.
Makes up to 40 small fruit mince pies
500 g (17 1/2 oz) apples, finely diced with the skin (golden delicious, pink lady) are naturally sweet and delicious
250 g (8 3/4 oz) raisins
100 g (3 1/2 oz) cranberries or sun-dried cherries
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1 orange (you will need the zest from ½ orange)
500 ml (2 cups / 17 1/2 fl oz) fresh apple juice
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
1. Combine the apples, raisins and cranberries into a pot.
2. Add the apple juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, vanilla and the zest from 1 orange.
3. Cover the pot and simmer over a gentle heat for 30 minutes, making sure to stir every now and then. Make sure not to boil too fast, just a slow gentle simmer.
4. Add more apple juice if you need to keep the mixture plump, and moist then simmer for another 30 minutes.
5. Turn off the heat and allow to cool. Now, at this stage your fruit mince will be ready to enjoy - but for those who want to add that festive cheer, you can stir through a generous splash of calvados ( apple brandy).
6. Make your fruit mince into delicious pies, tarts or folded into Christmas Baked muffins.
Notes and Inspiration
You need to keep a watchful eye on your fruit mince and give it a good stir every now and again, making sure the mixture does not stick to the base of your pot. If your apple juice starts to evaporate quickly, just add a little more juice or even some water to keep your fruit plump and moist. After about 1 hour you will see your fruit mince creation come to life and the aroma of spices will fill the house.
You can also add a generous splash of calvados - which is a delicious French style apple brandy that will add a touch of festive cheer, but that's totally your call :)