On 25 December 1662, Samuel Pepys described his Christmas feast as including a mince pie. Three and a half centuries later the enthusiasm for these little treats remains, although 17th century mince pies were in fact savoury and filled with meat and beef suet – rich and fruity but not at all sweet, and quite unsuited to tea time.
The Low Sizergh kitchen is in ‘modern’ mincemeat mode as demand for our homemade mince pies begins to grow. There’s no sign of meat or beef suet but there’s much appreciation for the stars of our recipe: the apples, which have recently been picked from our orchards. Varieties include Beauty of Moray (1883), White Melrose (1831) and Galloway Pippin, which is a dual-purpose apple, although we think its merits as a cooker outweigh its attractions as an eater.
- 250g raisins
- 375g currants
- 100ml brandy
- Zest of half a lemon
- 150g butter, chilled and grated
- 250g dark brown sugar
- 85g chopped mixed peel
- ½ small nutmeg, grated
- 200g Low Sizergh Farm apples, peeled and grated
Soak the raisins and currants on the brandy and lemon juice for 1 hour until plumped up, then drain and set the brandy aside. Mix all the ingredients together in the order given. Once everything is well mixed, pour in the brandy. Store in containers in the fridge for up to 3 weeks, or decant directly in to sterilised jars.