Baking is one of my favourite things to do. This is something that could possibly occupy all of my time – *especially* if I had a sous-chef, chopping ahead of me, and cleaning up behind me. heaven.
Alas! None of trio are interested in this position, yet will reluctantly participate when pressed. They want Chef status; or at the very least to spice, stir, and sample. And that’s it.
On my 2015 Christmas Baking list (because of course I have one) is mincemeat. I remember not liking it [at all] when I was a kid, but I feel I’d like it as an adult – maybe not from the jars at the grocery store. Not that I am a snob about using pre-packaged food stuffs (…powdered chicken gravy is my not-so-secret shortcut), it’s just that I think I could find a recipe to tailor to my taste.
It’s my first time making this. ever. Being guided only by the vague smushy, sour, deep flavour from my childhood, I began combing through online recipes to find one that I might be able to gently modify to my imagination.
Before I even found a recipe, my imagination was telling me that I wanted a mincemeat that *wasn’t* strictly raisins and currants; one that included dates (that I already bought because I was sure they were going in), prunes (as above), cranberries, maybe some dried pineapple, and more other delicious stuff.
Joy of baking’s HomemadeMincemeat is the recipe I followed, and gently modified to include the dried pineapple. I substituted prunes for the figs (darn! I wasn’t going back shopping, but this would be so gooood), and dates for the currants, and accidently added the zest and juice of a lemon and an orange. I probably also reduced the sugar amount – but only because more sugar was erroneously added through the candied peel I added.
So! Part of the reason that Mincemeat stayed on my list so long, was because I didn’t like the look of the candied peel in those little plastic containers in the grocery’s baking aisle. I wanted to try my hand at that too.
This recipe at The hungry mouse is amazing! I used 2 medium oranges, a lime, a lemon, and a grapefruit.
For my future self (or for those of you who are interested in following in The Hungry Mouse and Joy’s footsteps) I wouldn’t sugar coat the peel prior to adding it to the mincemeat recipe.
And in terms of time frames: I chopped all the fruit (oh ya, I also added in some chopped, toasted almonds) this morning (about 20 nonconsecutive minutes in and among helping trio get ready for school), and then threw it in the pot to simmer while I took them to school. The candied peel took some focused effort (maybe because it was my first time) but it was easy! The thinner the peel, the quicker it will cook, so I would stagger peel entries – starting with the grapefruit.
I am very grateful today for the experience of other bakers!
I will post photos of the mincemeat pie nearer to Christmas!
If you have a favourite mincemeat recipe, please let me know!