LAWRENCE MURPHY: Get preparing your festive treats with time to mature

You'll need to leave your mincemeat for at least one week before filling your pies
You'll need to leave your mincemeat for at least one week before filling your pies
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Fills 30 small pies

Last week it rained most of Saturday and I’d arranged a mountain bike ride with a few friends on Sunday.

It turned out to be a beautiful sunny winter’s day and the views from the top of Kingley Vale were worth the long climb up Adsdean, but as you can imagine the rain from the day before turned the ground to mud.

On the ride it dawned on me, with the drop in temperature and freezing toes, that we are really into winter months and that Christmas is just around the corner.

I remembered that I hadn’t made the sweet mincemeat yet and I like to give it a couple of weeks to mature and allow the flavours to develop.

You can buy mincemeat but this recipe produces a fantastic filling for an unforgettable pie that I’m sure Father Christmas will enjoy.


225g Bramley apple, peeled and diced

120g suet

160g raisins

120g currants

120g cranberries

120g mixed peel

175g brown sugar

Zest and juice of 2 clementines

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

2tsp mixed spice

1 stick cinnamon

1/2tsp ground nutmeg

100ml port

50ml brandy


1. Mix all the ingredients together except the brandy.

2. Put into a large saucepan and cook over a very low heat, occasionally stirring with a spoon for about 30 minutes until sticky.

3. Allow to cool and mix in the brandy.

4. Put into sterilised jars and leave for at least one week before using.

Lawrence’s restaurant is Fat Olives, Emsworth. Visit or call 01243 377 914.