Make this gorgeous mincemeat in advance and then use whenever you need quick homebaked mince pies, add to an apple pie to spice it up, or use as an impressive tart filling with sliced apples on top. Also makes a super festive gift in a pretty jar wound about with rafia.

I like to keep to keep this in the fridge ready for action, especially after opening, but it will keep unopened for several months in a cool dark cupboard. Also make the pastry a day ahead for convenience so you simply have to roll out and bake when needed.

Makes about four 500ml kilner jars (plus some depending on how slack you are with measuring ingredients!)

Simmer together till soft then puree:
2.5lbs/1kg plums halved and stoned
3 large oranges zest and juice only

Stir in and soak for 12 hours in fridge:
1lb of apples peeled, cored and cubed finely
200g raisins
200g sultanas
100g finely chopped walnuts
100g marmalade
250g demerera sugar
1/2tsp each ground cloves and nutmeg
2tbsp ground ginger
50ml ginger wine (or more to taste)
after the 12 hour soak, bake in the oven for 2.5hrs at 110 degrees c

stir in a good swill of brandy (and have a glass yourself as a reward for having made your own mincemeat!)then pot and seal into warmed clean sterilised jars, press down tightly so there is no air in the mixture cover with a wax circle and label and date as usual. Best to make ahead and give this a week or more to absorb all the liquid.
My Mums Half fat to flour Pastry…

Easy as pie…use 4oz fat to 8oz flour (8oz or fat to 16oz flour etc)

You can also add a sprinkle of salt or sugar to taste, or even spices or herbs or chillis depending on what you are using the pastry for. Maybe not chilli pastry for the mince pies…

Use butter or your usual spread (dairy free or whatever), use any flour, whatever your preference (can be gluten free, wholemeal, white, oat, spelt etc)

Cut fat into cubes and chop into flour repeatedly till well mixed then bring together with a few table spoons of cold water and form a ball. If you prefer put this in the Kenwood and let the mixer do the work!

Next wrap in film or waxed paper and place in the fridge for at least an hour. I like to make this the day before then its much easier to roll.

Roll out and cut into rounds to line your mince pie tin, fill with mincemeat, I like to cut stars for the tops rather than rounds which I make out of marzipan rather than pastry, 20 mins in the oven at 175 degrees c and a generous dusting of icing sugar to serve.

Garnish with a sprig of holly and a glass of sherry retaining one to leave out for Santa – dont forget to put a photo on facebook!!!

Top Tip: If there is any left over when the festive season has passed this makes the absolutely best filling for Chelsea Buns