Sunday, 2 December 2012

Chilli & Chocolate Mincemeat

After the success of last year's chocolate mincemeat, I thought I'd better have another go. Last week was Stir-up Sunday, when traditionally Christmas puddings are made, giving them ample time to mature before the big day. It is also a good time to make mincemeat for the same reason. I did neither. But due to the floods and consequent train disruption on the following day, I was unable to attend the chocolate conference that I'd taken the day off work for, so it was mincemeat making for me and Stir-up Monday instead. This year I decided to vary things a bit, quite a bit in fact. I added prunes and cranberries and omitted the currents (principally because I didn't have any). I added my own homemade mixed peel, some of the mint vodka I made back along and one of our rare chillies that actually ripened in the excuse for a summer we had this year.

So, as last year, I threw the following ingredients into a bowl, gave a good stir, covered with a plate and left for 5 days, stirring once a day. Packed into 4 sterilised 1 lb jars, then sealed with waxed discs and lids. I used some of the lovely vintage labels that the even lovelier Susan of A Little Bit of Heaven on a Plate sent me recently for having entered her home made and well preserved challenge.
  • 300g Cornish & Somerset cooking apples (varieties unidentified) - peeled, cored and finely chopped.
  • 50g vegetarian suet
  • 200g raisins
  • 110g sultanas
  • 100g prunes - chopped
  • 50g dried cranberries
  • 50g home-made mixed peel - chopped
  • 100g dark chocolate (85%) - chopped
  • 125g dark brown sugar
  • grated zest and juice of an organic lemon (unwaxed)
  • 1 small rocotto chilli - deseeded and chopped finely.
  • 40g flaked almonds
  • 3 tbsp rum
  • 3 tbsp mint vodka (home-made)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • a good grating of nutmeg
  • a small grating of star anise
The sweet and spicy aroma emanating from the bowl was intoxicating and when I did, err, lick out the bowl afterwards, I was extremely pleased with the results. The mint vodka gave a hint of something different and the chilli was just about right, warming rather than overheating. The chocolate was an excellent addition and worked to give a slightly deeper and richer flavour and also prevented the mincemeat from being overly sweet. I can't imagine ever wanting to buy mincemeat again.

45 comments:

  1. Oh now that is a good idea!

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    1. I thought it was too and luckily it worked.

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  2. What a great idea and the jars look so pretty. :-)) xxx

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  3. Gutted you didn't make it to the conference! I got an invite to it too and I am dying to hear how it was. But I very much approve of the way you decided to spend your day instead. Stay dry!

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    1. Now that would have been fun to have met up with you there Chele. I heard it was really good. The speakers were interesting and there was loads of really good chocolate - hey ho!

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  4. Wow - that's something-for-everyone mincemeat if ever i saw it!

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    1. Unless you don't like mincemeat CC :)

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  5. I'm so sorry you got to miss your chocolate conference- we were stuck on the train for eleven hours on Sunday! But what a brilliant use of a day off and such a inspired version of a christmas classic!

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    1. Oh no Kate - eleven hours!!!! I've just been stuck on one for 1 1/2 hrs on way home from work and I wasn't very impressed. Very poor you. I'm sure you could have thought of a better way to spend your Sunday. Missing two big chocolate events in two weeks was a little sad.

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  6. My goodness, you have taken to another level!

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  7. I keep seeing lots of lovely posts about homemade mincemeat but I've never made any of my own...I really must fix this next year!! I love the chocolate twist with yours along with the prunes and cranberries! As for the chocolate conference...why have I never heard of such a thing...sounds amazing! ;-)

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    1. It's not to late Laura, still time to make some in time for Christmas. This was the first time I'd heard about the chocolate conference too - I also heard it was interesting AND had loads of good chocolate too!

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  8. Chilli and chocolate mincemeat? Only you could think of that, Choc! I'm impressed you've gone for such a dark chocolate, but I'm guessing it will balance out the sweetness of the fruit?

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    1. Thanks Celia. the dark chocolate goes particularly well just because of it's bitterness and as you say balances out the sweetness. It also adds and additional depth and richness which I like.

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  9. Well you will know that my love of chilli means that this recipe is now calling me. How can I not make it even though I have a large tub full in the fridge. I have got to make this and think I may even have a couple of fresh home grown chillies on my chilli plants that I can use. You have excelled yourself here!

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    1. Ahh, thank you Laura. Go for it. You can never have too much mincemeat at this time of year AND it will stop your guests nodding over the fire whilst tucking into a mince pie ;-)

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  10. Lovely idea with the mint vodka! I've not made any mincemeat yet but if I get the chance this week I definitely add vodka! Lovely x

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    1. Dom you need some. How are you going to wow those unexpected guests from Cornwall (oops, gave the game away) over Xmas?

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  11. Lovely stuff. You've added some great twists to a classic.

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  12. Wow mint vodka, chocolate and chili, I love to try it! So interesting, I bet it makes fab mince pies

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  13. I love British Festive cakes filled with mincemeat. I never added chilli or chocolate to my homemade mincemeat, it sounds delicious.

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    1. Oh how splendid that you've adopted the British tradition of mincemeat and are making your own Rita, that has put a smile on my face :)

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  14. A chocolate conference? And you missed it? That is bad news, but made up for a little by this lovely mincemeat.

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    1. Oh Kath, I not only missed the chocolate conference, but I couldn't make the amazing chocolate event that was happening the same week at Chantal Coady's factory. In fact I've been feeling quite chocolate deprived recently!

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    2. No no no (she cries in horror). Christmas is nearly upon us can CT take some hints?

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  15. Fabulous Choclette and such great combination of flavours too, could become a classic that! Karen

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    1. Thanks Karen, the chilli bit is most certainly staying as will the prunes.

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  16. Homemade mint vodka? I was so astounded by that I nearly forgot about the chilli and the chocolate in the mincemeat! I don't think I will have time to make mincemeat this year, but I have really loved reading about yours x

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    1. Ahh, the wonders of flavoured vodka will never cease. Still time to make mincemeat Lucy, a week or two is still long enough to get a good texture and flavour, but obviously longer is better.

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  17. Really sorry you missed your conference - but the mincemeat looks like a delicious compensation!

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    1. Hey BVG, great to hear from you. The conference was just one of those things. Hopefully I'll get a chance another time. The mincemeat, I'm really pleased with.

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  18. It sounds amazing. I've been thinking of making my own mincemeat for the first time this Christmas and I love chilli and chocolate so this would be great for me.

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    1. Once you've made your own, there is no going back!

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  19. I have never made mincemeat and I have always refused to make mince pies by buying the mince meat. I always think I can just as well buy ready made mince pies! I am intrigued by this recipe. I'd love to give it a go! Thank you!

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    1. Alida, homemade mincemeat is so worth doing. It's very quick and simple but so so so much better than bought mincemeat and bought mince pies.

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  20. hi choclette - looking at your chocolate mincemeat recipes - curious to try some chocolate mince pies if I can get myself organised (yep look at the date) and it is 39 C today so not a day for baking. What made me curious about these recipes was a comment about wishing you had used butter instead of suet on your last chocolate mincemeat and then you used vegetarian suet again - I have never come across vegetarian suet here so I am curious - it is that it is much harder little chunks than butter or is there another reason to use one over the other?

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    1. Hi Johanna - sometimes I am in a more purist mode than others. Generally I prefer not to use ingredients that have been "industrialised" so would prefer to use butter. My initial intention was to use butter, but a) I heard somewhere it doesn't last so long with butter, b) the beauty of mincemeat is the simplicity and that you just mix everything together in one bowl and if I used butter I would have had to melt it c) vegetarian suet no longer uses hydrogenated fat so isn't quite as bad as it used to be and is just a whole heap easier to use and pragmatism won out. The compromise I made, was not to use that much suet.

      It's hard to imagine 39C and it must be a bit of a shock after your winter travels over here. Hope you have a lovely Christmas and thank you for all your thoughtful comments. Always much appreciated.

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    2. Thanks Choclette - that makes sense - I would be interested to try suet but the mincemeat I make doesn't have any butter or suet - which suits me - and I have left it in the fridge for 6 months and it still seems fine (to my amazement) - have a great christmas - I am off to experiment with chocolate in mince pies

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  21. That sounds really good. Have you baked with it? Curious as to what happens with the chocolate once baked and cooled...

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    1. Hi Lucy. Yes baked quite a few things with it and it works really well. It works pretty much as you'd expect a choc chip biscuit to work. So the chocolate stays in noticeable chunks and you get bursts of bitter dark chocolate amongst the sweetness of the fruit which works a treat - in my book anyway!

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