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Orange Mincemeat Recipe

Now that December has arrived, I imagine many people are starting to plan for a busy holiday season. Food tends to figure prominently at Christmas and we all have our own favorite food traditions this time of year. Mine is mincemeat. I adore the stuff and I am always looking for new recipes to try.

This gorgeous recipe is my adaption of an old Jane Grigson recipe found in Jane's wonderful cookbook English Food. In my opinion, the English always excelled in the preparation of mincemeats and fruitcakes and steamed puddings that are so homey and welcoming when the snow is blowing around outside. No wonder they are so popular at Christmastime.

Orange Mincemeat needs to age for a couple of weeks before using, so plan accordingly if you want to use it in your Christmas baking. I am also including instructions for making your own candied peel. Of course, you can buy perfectly good peel at the store, but it's a fun activity if you're going to be pottering about the kitchen anyway.

Orange Mincemeat
This is a fat-free vegan recipe.

3 medium apples
1 cup raisins
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup currants
1/2 cup candied orange peel
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup orange liqueur
2 tablespoons brandy
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Juice and zest of 1 large orange

Peel, core, and chop the apples. Place in a large bowl with the remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour into glass jars, cover, and let sit in a cool spot for two weeks before using. Every once in a while, give the jars a little shake to make sure all the fruit gets a chance to macerate in the lovely orangey, boozy syrup.

Makes 6 cups.

Candied Orange Peel
This is a fat-free vegan recipe.

3 medium oranges
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water

Cut each orange into eight sections and slice the peel off each section. If there is a lot of white pith on the peels, carefully slice away the excess, but do leave some on. It helps the peel keep its shape.

Place the peel in a large pot of water, cover with a lid, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat slightly. Boil for about 15 minutes. Drain the water and repeat two or three times. This removes the bitterness. I boiled my peel a total of four times.

After the final boiling, drain, and set aside. Place the sugar and 1/3 cup of water in the pot and heat to dissolve the sugar. Add the cooked peels and simmer over medium heat until the sugar syrup has dissolved. Keep an eye on the pot and stir often so the peels don't stick to the bottom or sides of the pot and burn.

Remove the peels to a wire rack covered with parchment or waxed paper to cool. When cool, store in an airtight container in a cool spot.

Makes approximately 1 1/2 cups of chopped candied peel.

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