Traditional Mincement


  • 8 ounces currants – minced (chopped quite fine)
  • 8 ounces raisins – minced
  • 8 ounces sultanas or golden raisins – minced
  • 12 ounces shredded granny smith apples
  • 8 ounces shredded beef suet
  • 2-4 ounces mixed peel minced
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • juice of one lemon or one orange
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1tsp vanilla or homemade bitters
  • 2-4 ounces brandy


  1. The amount of apple in this recipe is not a typo. In fact sometimes, I add more because this is close to what I grew up eating. I have added a scan of a fairly typical recipe from the 17th century and you can see that it calls for far more apple than most modern recipes.
  2. Secondly, this is mincemeat. I grate the apples when I grate the suet and I give the apples, suet, and dried fruit a whirl in the food processor before I put in on the heat. You may chop yours as much (or as little) as you like, but if you have never made this before I suggest mincing things not just chopping them.
  3. After chopping put all of the ingredients in a saucepan and heat them over medium heat until the suet melts and the mixture takes on a glossy sheen. As an aside, all of the spices are optional. I like a good deal of spice in mine.
  4. Let the mixture cool completely and then add the brandy.
  5. Put this in a container with an airtight lid and let it sit for at least a week. The longer it sits the more the flavor matures.
Cleland, Elizabeth. A New and Easy Method of Cookery. Edinburgh, Scotland: W. Gordon, C. Wright, S. Willison, J. Bruce, 1755. pp 81.

Feeding the Christmas Cake


  1. Now we have taken the cake out of it’s tin and it’s time to feed it. Don’t worry. It is supposed to be this dark.
  2. We are going to flip the cake upside down and inject it with whiskey. I have a turkey baster and and injector to do this but you can just poke 5-6 holes it it with a skewer and drop a half a teaspoon of whiskey or so in each hole.

3. Now wrap the cake tightly with parchment paper or plastic wrap and place it in an airtight container. I have a proper tin but I used a different pan this year and it was just “this much” too big for my tin.

4. Unwrap the cake and feed it like this once a week , until it’s time to decorate.