8oz (225g) Bramley apples, cored and chopped small (no need to peel them)
4 oz (110 g) shredded vegetable suet
6oz (175 g) raisins
4oz (110 g) sultanas
4oz (110 g) currants
4oz (110 g) whole mixed candied peel, finely chopped
6oz (175 g) soft dark brown sugar
grated zest and juice 1 orange
grated zest and juice 1 lemon
1 oz (25 g) whole almonds, cut into slivers
2 level teaspoons mixed ground spice
¼ level teaspoon ground cinnamon
good pinch freshly grated nutmeg
3 tablespoons brandy
All you do is combine all the ingredients, except for the brandy, in a large mixing bowl, stirring them and mixing them together very thoroughly indeed. Then cover the bowl with a clean cloth and leave the mixture in a cool place overnight or for 12 hours, so the flavours have a chance to mingle and develop. After that pre-heat the oven to gas mark ¼, 225°F (120°C). Cover the bowl loosely with foil and place it in the oven for 3 hours, then remove the bowl from the oven. Don't worry about the appearance of the mincemeat, which will look positively swimming in fat. This is how it should look. As it cools, stir it from time to time; the fat will coagulate and, instead of it being in tiny shreds, it will encase all the other ingredients.
When the mincemeat is quite cold, stir well again, adding the brandy. Pack in jars that have been sterilised (see below). When filled, cover with waxed discs and seal. The mincemeat will keep for ages in a cool, dark cupboard but I think it is best eaten within a year of making.
NOTE: To sterilise jars, wash the jars and lids in warm soapy water, rinse well, then dry thoroughly with a clean tea cloth, place them on a baking tray and pop into a medium oven, gas mark 4, 350F, 180C, for 5 minutes.
It's then just regular shorcrust pastry for the pie bottoms and for the crumble-topping combine the following ingredients and spoon the mixture o top of the mince pies before cooking
25g ground almonds
25g flaked almonds
pinch ground cinnamon
25g margarine , melted
25g soft light brown sugar
I used the truffle recipe under the tags in this comm. (chocolate and cashew cream) to make these...
1 lb (450 g) currants
6 oz (175 g) sultanas
6 oz (175 g) raisins
2 oz (50 g) glacé cherries, rinsed, dried and finely chopped
2 oz (50 g) mixed candied peel, finely chopped
3 tablespoons brandy, plus extra for 'feeding'
8 oz (225 g) plain flour
½ level teaspoon salt
¼ level teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ level teaspoon ground mixed spice
8 oz (225 g) unsalted margarine (I used Vitalite)
8 oz (225 g) soft brown sugar
5 quantities of egg replacer. I used no-egg.
2 oz (50 g) almonds, chopped (the skins can be left on)
1 level dessertspoon black treacle
grated zest 1 lemon
grated zest 1 orange
4 oz (110 g) whole blanched almonds
You need to begin this cake the night before you want to bake it. All you do is weigh out the dried fruit and mixed peel, place it in a mixing bowl and mix in the brandy as evenly and thoroughly as possible. Cover the bowl with a clean tea cloth and leave the fruit aside to absorb the brandy for 12 hours.
Next day pre-heat the oven to gas mark 1, 275°F (140°C). Then measure out all the rest of the ingredients, ticking them off to make quite sure they're all there. The treacle will be easier to measure if you remove the lid and place the tin in a small pan of barely simmering water. Now begin the cake by sifting the flour, salt and spices into a large mixing bowl, lifting the sieve up high to give the flour a good airing. Next, in a separate large mixing bowl, whisk the margarine and sugar together until it's light, pale and fluffy. Make up the egg replacer and add them to the creamed mixture a tablespoonful at a time.
When all the egg replacer has been added, fold in the flour and spices, using gentle, folding movements and not beating at all (this is to keep all that precious air in). Now fold in the fruit, peel, chopped nuts and treacle and finally the grated lemon and orange zests. Next, using a large kitchen spoon, transfer the cake mixture into the prepared tin, spread it out evenly with the back of a spoon and, if you don't intend to ice the cake, lightly drop the whole blanched almonds in circles or squares all over the surface. Finally cover the top of the cake with a double square of silicone paper with a 50p-size hole in the centre (this gives extra protection during the long slow cooking).
Bake the cake on the lowest shelf of the oven for 4½-4¾ hours. Sometimes it can take up to ½-¾ hour longer than this, but in any case don't look till at least 4 hours have passed. Cool the cake for 30 minutes in the tin, then remove it to a wire rack to finish cooling. When it's cold 'feed' it – make small holes in the top and base of the cake with a cocktail stick or small skewer, then spoon over a few teaspoons of brandy, wrap it in double silicone paper secured with an elastic band and either wrap again in foil or store in an airtight container. You can now feed it at odd intervals until you need to ice or eat it. I ended up with at least 1/4 bottle of brandy in my cake. Use sherry if you prefer
500g blanched almonds... whizz in a blender and add..
100g icing sugar... whizz again and add...
50ml water... knead into a dough on a surface covered with icing sugar.
So much better than the sickly sweet artificial flavoured supermarket stuff!
Brush the cake with boiled apricot jam and roll the marzipan out and cover the cake. Leave it under a dry tea towel for at least two days but up to a week to dry out as it'll otherwise affect the royal icing. when you'r ready to put the royal icing on brush with boiled water or brandy and roll the royal icing on (unless you've found a way to make vegan fondant icing, I haven't yet!_