Total time: 5 hours
for the mincemeat:
3 cups granulated sugar
3 large quince, peeled, cored, and halved
2 cups currants
2 cups dark brown sugar
2 cups raisins
2 cups sultanas
1 cup suet
1/2 cup chopped candied mixed peel
1/4 cup slivered almonds
5 teaspoons ground mixed spice
2 teaspoons ground allspice
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground mace
4 Bramley apples, peeled, cored and diced
3 lemons, zested and juiced
3 oranges, zested and juiced
2 cox apples, peeled, cored and diced
a nice bottle of Armagnac up your sleeve
for the apples:
1-2 apples per person, Russets for preference, but any good eater will do
50 grams mincemeat per apple
20 grams unsalted butter per apple
20 grams Demerara sugar per apple
cream or custard, for serving
1. Combine the sugar with 3 cups|750 ml water in a medium saucepan over high. Add the quince and cook at a simmer until soft, ab out 20 minutes. Cool slightly, then dice.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the quince with the remaining ingredients (except for the Armagnac) and cover with plastic wrap. Leave in in a cool dark place (not the fridge) for two days, mixing a couple of times a day, or whenever you think of it.
3. Transfer the mixture to a large roasting tray, cover with foil and bake in an oven preheated to 280°F|140°C (gas mark 1) for around 3 to 4 hours, until the suet has melted and is bubbling and the mixture has darkened. Remove from the oven and cleave to cool, stirring every 10 minutes to make sure the fruit is covered by the fat. This helps to preserve the mincemeat. Finally, when cool, add a very generous slosh of Armagnac (about 330ml). Pot into sterilized jars and seal. This will make around 2kg, so there will be a large quantity of mincemeat left for making mince pies at Christmas.
4. Core the apples leaving the outside in tact. Score a shallow cut horizontally around the middle of the apple. Loosely pack the apples into an oven dish, and using a teaspoon feed mincemeat into the cores.
5. Press the mincemeat down, and repeat, so that the apples are nicely filled. Leave a dome of mincemeat coming out of the tops, then scatter the apples with pinches of butter and a scattering of demerara sugar. Bake in an oven preheated to 325°F160°C for around an hour, until the tops are lightly browned, the bodies are soft and the mincemeat is gently bubbling. Serve with cream or custard.