Nothing welcomes Christmas quite like a mince pie, and for any Yuletide junkie these little parcels almost become a staple.

And the magic is simply, all in the filling… plumped dried fruit, spices, nuts and a wee bit of brandy. There is definitely nothing that compares to a jar of homemade filling. We did our shopping for our pie filling at The Refillery. It not only gave us the option of adding in exactly what ingredients what we wanted to go into the filling, but we could buy exactly what we needed – zero waste (hurrah).

For this recipe, we have made it a little more modern with ingredients like cranberries and dried pears and peaches.

What is so wonderful with the recipe is that you can create your own unique filling with your favorite nuts and dried fruit. In the past walnuts, pistachios and dried cherries have found their way into the mixture, you are as limited as your imagination.

With a little bit of planning, you can make the mincemeat a few weeks in advance, not only for your own pies, but to hand out jars to friends and family over the festive season.

The recipe is super simple to make and it’s so easy to bring in a non alcoholic (if you must) or vegan option (with the substitution of butter for a vegan based marge or butter replacement)

Jar for the mixture


175g dried pear

175g raisins

175g sultanas

175g dried cranberries

100g mixed peel

1 small green apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped

125g butter, cut into cubes (or vegan alternative)

50g slivered almonds

225g light muscovado sugar

½ tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp mixed spice

finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon

200ml brandy, rum or sherry (or orange juice)

Makes 3 x 370g jars

The How

Measure all of the ingredients except the alcohol/ juice into a large pan. Heat gently, allowing the butter to melt, then simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.

Allow the mixture to cool completely then stir in the brandy, rum or sherry. Spoon the mincemeat into sterilised jam jars, seal tightly, label and store in a cool place.

If you hand them out as gifts, you can always write a small recipe at the back of the tag for mince pies.

How to eat:

  • I have been known to eat it out the jar
  • You can go old school by adding it into a your mince pies
  • Any left over mixture (I do have to ask why, when there is always point one) is to mix it into some really good vanilla ice cream (slightly soft) and back into the fridge to firm up

Side notes:

PREPARING AHEAD – Make the mincemeat up to six months ahead and store in a cool place. It’s not necessary to freeze mincemeat as it stores so well, if you have sterilized the jars.

If you are planning on using your filling within a week or so, wait for the mixture to cool down and then store in sealed tight in the fridge.

Recipe & Images supplied by Daria Higgins