Ingredient of the week: Mincemeat

A marginal break from convention for our usual ingredient of the week column but we love mincemeat – as soon as anyone mentions Christmas the first mince pies get cracked open.

Mincemeat, true to its moniker, did originally contain meat which was partnered with fruit – a combination favoured through the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. Early recipes featured wines and even vinegar, although this was later replaced by the brandy that still features today. Spices were also added to the mix later on when they became more widespread and popular with increased trade and seafaring.

Try it in a mince pie ice cream with Amaretto and Clementine zest, mixed into the custard base of a bread and butter pudding or even blitzed with milk and vanilla ice cream to make a Christmas milkshake.

Mincemeat turnovers are also absolutely delicious - crispy, flaky pastry with a scattering of sugar.

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