Friday, December 4, 2009

Fruit mince, Margaret Fulton style

Little Jack Horner sat in the corner,
Eating a Christmas pie.
He put in his thumb,
and pulled out a plum,
And said, 'What a good boy am I.'

Traditional nursery rhyme

One of the building blocks for many traditional Christmas goodies is fruit mince. As a child, I hated fruit mince, because of its rather dense, slightly cloying texture, and of course, it usually contains citrus zest - a big ewww ingredient for a child!

However, I am now more "mature" in my tastes - I drink red wine, I eat blue cheese, and I am happy to have the sharpness of citrus zest in my food. Happily, this also means that at Christmas, I can indulge in treats such as fruit mince pies.

I've never made my own fruit mince or fruit mince pies before, so this is a new adventure for me. There are literally hundreds of different recipes for fruit mince, as with every other Christmas treat, so to tone down the noise, I went straight to a recipe by Australia's original doyenne of home cooking, Margaret Fulton. This recipe is in Margaret's Fulton's Christmas, printed last year, and can also be found in the Australian Good Food Christmas Baking supplement with the December issue of
Australian Good Food magazine, presumably because Suzanne Gibbs, Margaret's daughter, co-wrote the book and is a staff writer for Australian Good Food. There are no plums in Margaret's recipe, so Jack Horner will have to amuse himself in other ways.

Margaret's recipe makes a whopping nine cups of fruit mince; I scaled it down to two thirds. However, the original recipe in all its glory is as follows:

500g raisins
500g currants
500g sultanas
120g chopped blanched almonds
2 peeled, cored and grated Granny Smith apples
330g packed brown sugar
150g melted butter
185ml brandy or rum
1 teaspoon mixed spice
grated zest and juice of 2 oranges

Process the fruit and almonds together in a food processor until coarsely chopped. You may have to do this in batches, depending on the size and horse-power of your food processor, and depending on whether you make the full recipe.

Put the chopped fruit and nuts into a bowl, add the remaining ingredients, and stir well to combine.

Cover the fruit mince and chill for at least 2 days before using, stirring daily. You'll be surprised at how it sucks up all the liquid and becomes quite dense! The fruit mince will keep for several months stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator (if it lasts that long!).

On the weekend, I will be making some goodies for our work bake sale using the fruit mince. I will post about these soon.


Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to seeing what you make with this! I don't think I've had anything quite like it. Is the mixed spice something like cinnamon, cloves, and ginger?

Susan from Food Blogga said...

I admit, I was one of those "Ewwww. Mince" people. But now I actually like it. Our tastes really do mature.

Cakelaw said...

Hi Jill, I read that it's similar to pumpkin pie spice, and contains caraway, allspice, coriander, cumin, nutmeg and ginger, and sometimes cinnamon and other spices.

Hi Susan, they do - which means there are more great things to eat!

Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said...

hehe isn't it funny how tastes change? I admit I'm not a huge fruit mince eater but hubby is! :)

Brenda said...

Your fruit mince looks as good as any! I've never made it because I look at the ingredients list and go, woah...too much and when will I be able to use it all hahaha!

Jennifer said...

This really sounds delicious! I love the wonderful flavor that fruit zest gives to a recipe!

Ivy said...

I am looking forward to seeing some of your recipes with the mince. I thought sutanas and raisins was the same thing.

Barbara said...

Unfortunately I am still one of those ewwww people! I don't like mince, candied fruit or anything resembling it.
However, it doesn't mean I don't cook it for others!

The Blonde Duck said...

I've never heard of a fruit mince. Curious!

Anonymous said...

I am looking for a fruit minced recipe. It might be IT!

The Caked Crusader said...

My mum (the CCM!) makes all my mincemeat. I'll happily make all the mince pies but still don't like eating them - strange really as I love all the ingredients in mince meat...just not together!

Johanna GGG said...

I have grown to love mixed fruit more too - in fact I used to hate peel in the mix and now get frustrated I can't find it without having to buy mixed fruit - lovely fruit mince - so festive