Traditional Mincemeat


Originally, lean beef was the important ingredient which earned this indispensable Christmas pie filling its name. I wonder why it was dropped from the recipe over the years (the first edition of Mrs Beeton is the last time we hear of it), as the beef seems to give a lovely mild taste.

It makes a costlier mixture but the best I have tasted and I feel it is a tradition worth reviving. This quantity makes 9-10 lb of mincemeat, so halve the quantity if you like, though it keeps well and I find it useful for school fairs or little presents.


  • 1 lb (400 g) seedless raisins
  • lb (600 g) currants
  • ¾ lb (300 g) lean rump steak - with any fat trimmed off and then minced
  • lb (600 g) shredded beef suet
  • 1 lb (400 g) soft dark brown sugar
  • 4 oz (100 g) chopped mixed peel
  • ½ whole nutmeg - freshly grated
  • 2 lbs (800 g) cooking apples - peeled, cored and either chopped finely or minced
  • grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ pt (125 ml) (or a little more) brandy


Thoroughly mix all the ingredients together in the order given. Stir in the lemon juice and brandy. Press closely into jars to exclude air. Leave for at least a fortnight before using.