Making a batch of these on Christmas Eve and leaving one out for the man in red to nibble with his sherry really signals that the celebrations are under way. Look at all that juicy deliciousness!
I dived into that one with my fork before remembering I wanted to sprinkle it with icing sugar for my festive photos. This meant I had to eat it immediately. What a shame, I bet you feel really sorry for me!
Is Mincemeat Vegan?
‘Mincemeat’ and ‘mince’ pies seem like strange words to use for a fruit pie don’t they? Historically mincemeat did contain meat along with the fruits and spices but, along the way, the meaty bit fell out of favour and the mince pie became the fruity little number we know so well.
Suet was retained to aid storage and provide texture and many of the commercial mincemeats still use it or its vegetarian alternative.
So, is mincemeat vegan? Vegan mincemeat and vegan mince pies are now pretty readily available to buy, but you need to check the labels for any hidden meat suet or animal fats. You also need to look out for butter and milk in the pastry ingredients list for mince pies. To be on the safe side, and because it’s way more festive, make my vegan mincemeat instead!
Click this link if you want to read more about the history of mincemeat and mince pies, it makes for interesting reading!
Some Vegan Mincemeat FAQs
Do You Need Suet In Mincemeat?
The short answer is no! I used vegetable suet in my recipe for years but one year I forgot to buy any, couldn’t be bothered to go back out and get some and my recipe tasted even better without it!
Suet is used to help bind the filling together but it can be very oily. I found that my choice of fresh fruits combined with dried, a good glug of alcohol and some brown sugar rendered the suet completely surplus to requirements.
Which Fruits To Use in Mincemeat.
Typically mincemeat includes a combination of currants, sultanas and raisins with added extras like dried cranberries, glacé cherries and mixed peel. They sometimes include fresh fruits and often include nuts. Sugar and spices are added along with alcohol or fruit juice.
My nut free mincemeat includes fresh pears, grated Bramley apples, lemon and orange zest along with the usual dried fruit combination. I add glacé cherries, apricots, figs and dates for that festive feel but NOT mixed peel because I can’t stand it!
Which Alcohol or Fruit Juice for Mincemeat?
For me, Port and Brandy just shout Christmas. It is an indulgence adding both but the smell when this is cooking and the flavour when you bite into a pie justifies it in my book!
If you want to leave one out, do, if you fancy a sherry mince pie add that instead! The beauty of making your own is that you can add the things you like and leave out those you don’t.
If you want an alcohol free mincemeat use apple or orange juice instead. This won’t store as well, will need refrigerating and will need eating within a couple of weeks unless you freeze it.
How To Store Vegan Mincemeat
Alcohol and sugar are the preserving agents in mincemeat. Fresh mincemeat will last for up to a month if refrigerated but it can last for a lot longer if stored in sterilised jars and its flavour improves with age.
The easiest way to sterilise jars for preserving is to run them through a hot dishwasher. If you don’t have a dishwasher wash the jars in hot soapy water, rinse them and place them on a baking tray in a low oven (160C/320F) for 15 minutes. Click here for more information on how to sterilise jars if you are unsure!
If you are making mincemeat without alcohol it won’t store as well, will need refrigerating and will need eating within a couple of weeks or so. Alternatively, if you want to make enough to last for the whole festive season, freeze it in suitable containers and use as needed!
How To Make Vegan Mincemeat At Home
Mincemeat couldn’t be easier to make. All the ingredients are prepared then simply combined, spooned into a heat proof dish and cooked in the oven or slow cooker. The smell when it is cooking is sure to put you in that festive mood!
How To Make Vegan Shortcrust Pastry for Mince Pies
Vegan shortcrust pastry is easy to make. Sift together 200g plain flour and 25g icing sugar. Add 100g of cold vegan margarine or butter chopped into small pieces. Pulse briefly in a food processor until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add 2- 3 tbsp of cold water and process briefly until it begins to clump. Pull together with your hands to form a pastry disc (add a little more water if needed). Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least an hour before using. Alternatively, use shop bought shortcrust, just check that it is vegan!
More Vegan Christmas Baking Recipes
If you’re in a Christmas baking mood try my:
Vegan Mincemeat for Vegan Mince Pies
- 200 g firm pears peeled and chopped into dice
- 200 g Bramley apples peeled and grated
- 1 lemon zest and juice
- 1 orange zest and juice
- 450 g mixed dried fruit a combination of sultanas, currants and raisins
- 100 g glace cherries chopped
- 50 g dried apricots chopped
- 50 g dried figs chopped
- 50 g soft dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 60 ml vegan port
- 30 ml vegan brandy
In The Oven
- Preheat oven to 90C/200F
- Put all the prepared ingredients into a large oven proof casserole dish with a lid.
- Cook in the low oven for an hour and a half.
- Stir well and allow to cool completely.
- Transfer to sterilised jars and seal.
In A Slow Cooker
- Combine all the prepared ingredients and add to the slow cooker dish. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
- Leave to cool, stir well, transfer to sterilised jars.