This Christmas fruit mince with cherries is my new favourite filling for mince pies. It has layers of rich festive spices and delicious fruity flavour from the raisins, sultanas, currants, citrus, and cherries.
This is perfect to make when cherries are in season and preserve for later. I include instructions on how to preserve (can) it in the recipe. If you live in the Southern Hemisphere cherries are in season now. I like to make extra and stash a few jars away for next year.
Cherries are my favourite fruit so adding them to fruit mince to make a festive mince pie filling was the natural thing to do. This recipe is adapted from my pear fruit mince recipe and is the best I’ve tasted or made so I will put a stake in the ground and declare this as the ultimate with no further work needed.
I love cherries in any dessert but particularly love my best cherry galette recipe.
Making your own fruit mince for mince pies is easy to do and tastes so much better than store-bought fruit mince you will never go back. I love to add apples, pears, and now cherries to the mix. Make sure to cut them quite small and they soak up all the delicious spices.
If I’m not making mince pies with my fruit mince my all-time favourite is to add it to apples and make apple and mince pie crumble bars. This recipe combines shortbread, apple pie, and mince pies and is the easiest festive recipe.
This Christmas mince can be made in advance and preserved in jars or used for mince pies. You can store the cooked mince in a jar in the fridge for at least a month. If you want to store it for longer, I recommend preserving it as per my instructions in the recipe.
Or you could use half in the mice pies and store the rest for next year. Your future self will be So happy you did.
How to make homemade fruit mince
Make sure you chop the peeled apples and pears quite small and remove all the pips from the cherries. You won’t want to be biting into a stray pip in a mince pie later on. This could easily crack a tooth.
Simply add all the ingredients to a large saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. I like to use a wide pan which helps cook the fruit and thicken it.
Stir the mixture occasionally while it is cooking and do this over low to medium/low heat.
If you are preserving the fruit mince you can ladle it warm into the jars and follow the instructions for preserving in the recipe. Alternatively, allow it to cool, store it in the fridge or make mince pies immediately.
What to do with leftover fruit mince?
If you are mince pied out and want to find a few delicious things to make with your leftover fruit mince, why not try a large Christmas mince pie and frangipane tart? Stuff apples with the fruit mince and bake them with a splash of brandy.
I love my mince pie cinnamon sticky buns filled with Christmas fruit mince. Fold them into phyllo samoosas or cigars. Add a festive twist to your crumpet (pancake) batter or ice cream, or fold through your favourite vanilla cake or cupcake batter.
Wrap puff pastry around it to make pinwheels or palmiers, or even make Christmas scones. I’ll be dropping a spoon into my oats to give it a Christmas twist.
Recipe – makes about 2 pint / 470ml jars
The best Christmas fruit mince with cherries
- 4 medium/large apples or pears or a combo of both, peeled cored, and chopped into small pieces
- 300-400 gms fresh cherries pitted and cut in half
- 500 gm mixed dried fruit Raisins, sultanas, currants
- Zest and juice of an orange
- 3 Tbs candied citrus peel
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 tsp ground allspice
- 2 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp vanilla extract optional
- 3 cups granulated white sugar
- 1/2 cup vinegar white wine or apple cider
- 2 tots of brandy 30ml (optional)
- Combine all the ingredients in a large saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes until thickened stirring from time to time.
- About 5 minutes before the mince is finished cooking add the brandy and the vanilla. Stir and continue to cook.
- Allow the fruit mince to cool in the pan.
- Use this to make Christmas mince pies or other Christmas treats. Alternatively, preserve the fruit in a jar as per the below instructions.
- To preserve this mince, prepare a tall stockpot by filling it with water and bringing it to a boil. Heat jars and lids in the simmering water until they are ready for use. Do not boil. Set the bands aside.
- When the fruit mince is ready, ladle it into hot jars leaving 2 ½ cm (1/2 an inch) headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim the rim and center the lid on the jar. Apply the band until the fit is fingertip tight.
- Process (submerge) the 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 the center is pressed.