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Don't forget to wash and dry all the dried fruit thoroughly and don't be tempted to reduce the amount of alcohol as this is what preserves the mincemeat and stops it going mouldy - lack of alcohol and too much (cheap) apple is what makes mincemeat start to ferment.

450g/1lb currants
450g/1lb muscatel or Californian raisins (or a mixture)
450g/1lb sultanas
225g/8oz mixed peel, chopped into small dice
2 (250g) pkts grated suet
115g/4oz whole skinned almonds, coarsely chopped
350g/12oz raw demerara sugar
115g/4oz raw muscovado sugar
about 500g/a good 1lb Bramley apples, peeled, cored and chopped fairly small
2 rounded tsp ground mixed spice
1 rounded tsp ground cinnamon
Grated zest and the juice of a large, juicy lemon 175ml/6 fl oz dark rum
125ml/4 fl oz amaretto di Sarano
125ml/4 fl oz French brandy


Thoroughly mix all the ingredients together in a very large bowl - it is easiest to do this with one (very clean) hand. Cover the mincemeat and leave it to stand for 24 hours, with a big wooden spoon nearby; then encourage everyone to give a vigorous stir each time they pass by.

Pack the mincemeat into sterilised glass jars (or kilner jars), place a greaseproof jam cover on top, seal the jars firmly, then store them in a cool place. The mincemeat will keep happily for a year but I like it best after about 6 months.

This recipe can be found in The Really Helpful Cookbook by Ruth Watson (Ebury Press, ISBN: 0-091-88538-8, 14.99)
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