I have to be honest I can be a bit Bah-Humbug when it comes to Christmas – it just seems to start so early now and it’s become a bit too commercial for me. But I am a big fan of Christmas food! I love the smells of Christmas; the cinnamon, spices, mulled wine and brandy……. that for me is what Christmas is about. This recipe fills your kitchen with the very essence of Christmas and is guaranteed to get you in to the Christmas spirit. Although there are quite a few ingredients it’s easy to make and well worth the effort. It also keeps for absolutely ages, so if you have any left-over you’ll be able to use it next year.
450g Bramley apples, cored and chopped but the skin left on
50g flaked almonds
4 teaspoons of mixed spice
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon of grated nutmeg
225g shredded suet (use vegetarian suet if preferred)
115g dried sour cherries
115g dried cranberries
150g finely chopped candied peel
350g soft dark brown sugar
Grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
Grated zest and juice of 2 oranges
6 tablespoons of brandy
2 table spoons of Grand Marnier or orange liqueur (optional)
You will need 6 x 350ml sterilised preserving jars plus wax disks
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl except for the brandy and the Grand Marnier. Mix thoroughly before covering with a clean cloth and leave overnight for the flavours to develop.
The next day preheat the oven to Gas Mark ¼, 225℉,110℃. Cover the bowl loosely with foil and put it in the over for three hours. Remove the bowl from the oven and allow to cool, stirring occasionally so that the melted suet coats all the other ingredients. When the mixture is completely cold then stir in the brandy and Grand Marnier.
Pack into the sterilised jars (to do this you can either place in an over at Gas Mark 4, 350℉, 180℃for 5 minutes or put through the hot cycle on your dishwasher). Cover with wax disks and seal. Leave the jars is a cool dark place until you’re ready to use.