Stewed apples, crunchy sweet walnuts, a selection of dried fruits and the perfect mix of Christmas spices all set against a hit of fiery whisky, really make this Walnut and Whisky Mincemeat the best mincemeat recipe ever!
Confession: this is not my recipe...it's my dad's. An amateur baker for many years, last year he made THE best mince pies I've ever had IN MY LIFE, both mincemeat and pastry were just Amazing.
So I've pinched the recipe off him in order to share with you lovely people 😃
After all, there is little more wonderful at Christmas than a perfect homemade mince pie.
Why is THIS the best mincemeat🎄recipe EVER?
Stewed apple - gently stewing the apples first, in just a little butter and water, and then mixing them into the dry mincemeat ingredients gives this Walnut and Whisky Mincemeat lots of apple flavour. It also makes the mincemeat beautifully moist.
Whisky - most mincemeat recipes ask for a good dousing of brandy, many prefer almondy Amaretto, and some prefer for a good shot of dark sweet sherry, however, whisky is a game changer. Why? Because whisky (in particular a good smoky one) brings out the depth and intensity of the nutty flavours in brown sugar and adds a unique richness to the mincemeat.
Walnuts - with their soft, mellow flavour and gentle crunch, walnuts rather than hard nuts such as almonds, are perfect for mincemeat.
Light muscovado sugar - the refined flavour of light muscovado sugar, rather normal dark brown sugar, brings a rich and delicious toffee element to the mincemeat.
Why make this Walnut and Whisky Mincement?
A hit of whisky in every mince pie! ✔️
Walnuts bring a gentle crunch and unique nutty flavour ✔️
Lots of apple flavour due to the stewed apples 🍏 ✔️
See Recipe Card for exact amounts
- Bramley (cooking) apples
- Unsalted butter
- Walnut halves - cut into quarters
- Chopped candied peel
- Dried cherries
- Light muscovado sugar
- Orange - zest and juice
- Ground cinnamon
- Whole nutmeg - grated
- Ground cloves
- Vegetable suet
- Whisky - any will do, but the smokier the better
Detailed instructions in the Recipe Card below
Chop your apples into small chunks. At the same time gently melt a knob of butter in a heavy-based medium sized saucepan.
Add your apples to the butter along with your water and heat gently, stirring regularly. Use a potato masher to mash them down as they cook. As soon as fully soft, mashed and all of the water has dissipated remove from the heat and leave to completely cool.
Meanwhile, mix all of your dried Walnut and Whisky mincemeat ingredients together in a large bowl.
Once your apple has cooled mix it into your dry mincemeat ingredients. It can be easier to this this by hand (and very satisfying!).
Fill your steralised glass jars with mincemeat and seal. The mincemeat will keep for 6 months - see Storage section below.
Mincemeat is fabulously forgiving when it comes to varying ingredients. As noted above, I would recommend you retain the whisky, apples and light muscovado sugar, but other than that you can chop and change as you see fit.
You can replace the Bramley cooking apples with any tart apple, such as Granny Smiths.
Currants and sultanas
Use a mix of whatever currants, sultanas or raisins you have, as long as their combined weight is 455 grams.
Omit the candied peel and use 575 grams of mixed dried fruit which already contains candied peel.
Feel free to replace with morello or glace cherries, chopped into quarters, or you can substitute with dried cranberries.
Cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cloves
If you don't have one or all of these Christmassy spices simply use mixed spice instead.
Can be replaced with melted unsalted butter.
This Walnut and Whisky Mincemeat should be stored in sterilised jars and kept in a cool place out of direct sunlight.
When packing your sterilised jars, make sure to push your mincemeat down well into the jar, in order to leave no air gaps.
Walnut and Whisky mincemeat will be stored this way for up to 6 months.
Making your mincemeat up to 6 months before use is ideal as it allows the flavours to really deepen and develop. I confess to never being this well organised though! I tend to make mine a month before, which has always been perfectly fine.
Top tips for perfect Walnut and Whisky Mincemeat
Stewing your apples
Try to prepare these only when you are about to cook them, to avoid them oxidising i.e. during brown.
Be careful not to overcook the apples, you just need to very gently stew them and then remove them from the heat as soon as mushy.
As soon as the water has dissipated they are done.
If you can try to use good quality whisky has a smoky flavour that pairs well with muscovado sugar.
Pepping up your mincemeat before use
To really liven up a jar of your lovely Walnut and Whisky Mincemeat when you are ready to use it I recommend mixing in:
- the zest of 1 orange;
- another 50 grams of walnut halves chopped into quarters;
- a further tablespoon of Whisky, fresh orange juice or fresh apple juice.
This will add further flavour and texture.
Suet helps to preserve mincemeat, gives it a smooth texture and adds depth of flavour.
Looking for more Christmas recipes like this? Try these:
Puff Pastry Mince Pies are truly the easiest mince pies you can make! Simply use bought puff pastry, roll it out and cut out 2 circles. Then add a spoonful of mincemeat to the middle of one and then press over the other circle to seal. Sooooo simple!
Fancy a change to the usual Christmas Pud? If you are not a dried fruit fan try this delicious Mulled Wine Christmas Pudding, absolutely divine.
Supremely popular on Ellas Better Bakes is this simple Easy Boiled Fruit Cake.
Walnut and Whisky Mincemeat
Here's what you'll need...
- Heavy-based medium saucepan
- Potato masher or wooden spoon
- Very large mixing bowl
- 3 0.5 litre Kilner jars or screwtop jars such as jam jars
Ingredients you'll need...
Stage 1 - see blog post for variation suggestions
- 25 g Unsalted butter
- 425 g Bramley (cooking) apples - 3 medium apples weight is after being peeled, cored and chopped - (4 Cups) prepared only when ready to cook to avoid the apples browning
- 3 tablespoon Cold water
- 225 g Sultanas (1½ Cups)
- 230 g Currants (1½ Cups)
- 50 g Dried cherries (2-3 tablespoons)
- 120 g Mixed peel (⅔ Cup)
- 120 g Walnut halves chopped in half again (1 Cup)
- 1 teaspoon Ground cinnamon level
- ½ teaspoon Whole nutmeg grated level
- ½ teaspoon Ground cloves level
- 1 Orange juice and zest
- 230 g Light muscovado sugar (1 Cup + 2 level tablespoons)
- 170 g Vegetable suet (1¼ Cups)
- 4 tablespoon Whisky preferably good quality, a smoky whisky brings extra intensity of flavour
Here's what we do...
- Heat your butter gently until just melted and then chop your apples into small chunks and mix in.
- Add your cold water and then bring to a gentle simmer.
- Turn the heat down low and gently simmer until the apples have softened and become mushy. Use your potato masher or a wooden spoon to mash the apples as they cook, they should be ready in about 5-7 minutes. Add a little more water if it all dries up before the apples are soft enough to mash.
- Set your apples aside to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, mix the rest of the mincemeat ingredients together, except the whisky, in your large mixing bowl.
- Once your apples have completely cooled mix them into the rest of your mincemeat ingredients. You may find it easier to mulch them in with your hands.
- Finally mix in your whisky.
- Take a clean tea towel or similar cloth and drape it over the bowl of mincemeat and leave it to stand for 24 hours in a cool and dry place, out of direct sunlight. This enables the fruit to absorb the liquids.
- Sterilise your jars, see this link for instructions on how to do this. Make sure you also sterilise the jar seals and/or lids.
- Leave the jars to cool face down.
- Fill with your mincemeat, seal and store at room temperature and out of sunlight.
- Your mincemeat can be used right away but is at it's best if stored for at least a month.
- the zest of 1 orange;
- another 50 grams of walnut halves chopped into quarters;
- a further tablespoon of Whisky, or fresh orange juice or fresh apple juice.
StorageThis Walnut and Whisky Mincemeat should be stored in sterilised jars and kept in a cool place out of direct sunlight.
When packing your sterilised jars, make sure to push your mincemeat down well into the jar, in order to leave no air gaps. Walnut and Whisky mincemeat will be stored this way for up to 6 months. Making your mincemeat up to 6 months before use is ideal as it allows the flavours to really deepen and develop. I confess to never being this well organised though! I tend to make mine a month before, which has always been perfectly fine.