Prepare the fruit and nuts the day before you bake. Chop the larger nuts and the figs, and put all the fruit and nuts in a bowl. Add enough juice to cover, and stir in the sherry. Leave for 24 hours, and stir the mixture occasionally.
The next day, mix the flour and yeast, and stir in the fruit and nuts and enough liquid to make a dough. Add the mincemeat, if using it. You can, if you wish, let it rise slowly, covered, for 24 hours in a cool place, or let it rise in a shorter time at a higher temperature. In other words, treat it as you would bread, and let it work to your timetable rather than the other way round. Shape into four loaves and place in greased and floured tins, or shape into round cakes about
© 2000 Frances Bissell. All rights reserved.