Making my own fruit mince for mince pies has been on my food bucket list for so many years I couldn’t let another Christmas go by without giving it a go. As with all things home-made the outcome was predictable with this mince being so superior to commercial fruit mince I will never buy it again. I love how it includes pears which softens the mix slightly, but all the spice and flavour remains intact.
The recipe comes from The Ball Blue Book, Guide to Preserving which I have now read cover to cover. It really is the most comprehensive preserving book filled with delicious recipes. It includes chapters on all types of preserving from the water bath (which are the recipes I have done so far on Drizzle and Dip), pressure cooker preserving, freezing and even dehydrating. I’m thrilled that I’m learning the craft of preserving properly and feel confident working with such a high-quality product as Ball and knowing that my food will last for at least a year in my cupboard.
The fruit mince is easy to do once you have been through the pear chopping process – which is a little laborious, and this recipe makes three and half-pint jars of fruit mince. That half extra half jar is enough to mix up a batch of mince pies.
The recipe for the pear mince makes more than you need for these pies, but they can be kept until next year or given away as a gift. I used the pastry from my previous mince pie recipe and added the zest of half an orange because I love the flavour it adds. I have however come to adore my apple & mince pie crumble bars – which I have made a few permutations of. They are even more easy and delicious to make than mince pies (which can be finicky) so I will definitely be whipping up a batch of those soon too. Another idea would be to turn this pear fruit mince into one large tart with a frangipane topping – another favourite of mine.
*Cooks notes~ I halved the recipe in the blue book and converted everything to metric measures (where applicable). Instead of using just raisins I used a fruit cake mix of raisins, sultanas and dried citrus peel and left out the lemon from the recipe.
Recipe – Pear fruit mince (makes 3 1/5 half-pint jars)
- 1.7kg pears (about 7 large), cored and chopped into small pieces
- 500gm mixed fruit (see above)
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 tsp ground allspice
- 2 tsp cloves
- 3 1/4 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup vinegar
Combine all the ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to the mixture to the boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes until thickened.
PREPARE your stockpot by filling it with water and bringing it to the boil. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.
When the pear fruit mince is ready, ladle into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight.
PROCESS jars in boiling water (stockpot) for 15 minutes, adjusting for altitude (the water should cover the lids in the stockpot by about 2 cm). Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. The lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.
Pear mince pie recipe – make about 36 small mince pies
- 125gm castor sugar
- 125gsm butter (cold)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
- zest of half an orange
- 350gms plain flour (extra for dusting)
In a food processor mix the butter, salt, sugar and zest until combined. Add the flour and the eggs and briefly blitz until you have an even crumb. Tip the loose mixture onto a surface and knead for the minimal amount of time until it comes together as a firm dough. Cut in half and wrap in cling.
Chill for a min of an hour. Roll the pastry out on a floured surface, cut out rounds with a cookie cutter and line greased pastry cases or pans with a non-stick cooking spray.
Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350 F.
Roll out the pastry to around 4mm thick and cut rounds to fit your pan with a cookie cutter. Spray your mince pie pan with non-stick cooking spray and place a round of pastry in each.
Fill the pastry cases with a small dollop of pear fruit mince. Top with a cutout piece of pastry (I like to cut out star or bell shapes for this). Loosely cover and bake for 20 minutes until turning brown.
The Ball Preserving Starter Kit, the Blue Book Guide to Preserving and the jars make wonderful gifts for Christmas. Especially if you fill it with something delicious you have made at home.
*This post has been sponsored by Ball Jars
For more of my Ball Jar preserving recipes:
How to make easy cranberry jelly
Oven-roasted BBQ chicken wings
Zesty salsa and salad nachos
Corn and red pepper relish quesadillas
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