The Food Gatherer's note: A lovely variation of a traditional mincemeat recipe, I was first introduced to it by a very close friend of mine who loves to make jellies, jams, chutneys and pickles and introduced me to the delights of Pam Corbin. Those who have followed The River Cottage and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's adventures may have come across Pam the jam, who has guided his forays into preserves. This particular recipe can be used instead of the traditional mincemeat for mince pies and I have become addicted to the taste of pear and ginger. Alternatively it can be used as a filling for baked apples. It is simple and so easy to follow that you simply have to try it!



1Kg Bramley apples
Finely grated zest and juice of 2-3 oranges (you need 200ml juice)
500g firm pears chopped into 1cm cubes
200g currants
150g raisins
150g sultanas
100g crystallised stem ginger
100g orange marmalade
250g demerara sugar
½ tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ nutmeg, grated
50ml ginger wine or cordial
100g chopped almonds
50ml brandy or sloe gin

4 x 450g jars

To Prepare:

Wash the apples, core and chop them, then put them into a saucepan with the orange juice. Cook gently until soft. Blend to a puree in a liquidiser. You should end up with about 700ml apple puree.

Put the puree into a large bowl and add all the other ingredients, except the alcohol. Mix thoroughly, then cover and leave to stand for 12 hours.

Preheat the oven to 130°C/Gas Mark 1/2. Put the mincemeat in a large baking dish and bake, uncovered, for 2–2.5 hours. Stir in the brandy or gin, then spoon into warm, sterilised jars, making sure there aren't any air pockets. Seal and store in a dry, dark, cool place until Christmas.