Stir It Up Sunday
As a vegetarian, and someone who is also not a huge fan of raisins and sultanas, mince pies can be a minefield. It's one reason why I make my own mincemeat, but also I love the idea of Stir It Up Sunday as an annual tradition. Nothing better on a blustery Sunday and the smells are a very heaven. If, like me, you are not partial to raisins or sultanas then you can use any other preserved or dried fruit you fancy, but the emphasis here is really on the ginger, which I am more partial to with each passing year. In this case I use crystallised ginger, stem ginger and syrup and a hearty dollop of Ginger Wine. It would go down a treat with a Whiskey Mac...
400g Mixed preserved fruit, including 150g of finely chopped stem ginger and crystallised ginger. I made up the rest of the weight with maraschino cherries, dried cranberries, dried figs and dates.
200g chopped cooking apple
Zest of two clementines
80g toasted and chopped almonds
100ml of syrup from the stem ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 of a nutmeg, finely grated
Pinch of ground cloves
2 star anise (remove after cooking)
100ml of Ginger Wine
150g Light Muscavado Sugar
Put all the ingredients, apart from the alcohol, in a large heavy bottomed saucepan and heat, ensuring all the butter melts. Cook for a further ten minutes, then remove from the heat and leave to cool completely before adding the booze. Spoon it all into a sterilised jar and store in a cool dark place. It's perfect for regular sweet shortcrust mince pies, or try with a lovely frangipane topping.