You had to really think ahead on the home-front during WW2. Bottling hedgerow fruits during the late summer months would have enabled you to use many of those berries to make Christmas mince pies. The fruits bulked out the dried fruit which was much harder to get hold of in the quantities most housewives were used to.
This recipe comes from ‘Woman Magazine’ and makes about 3-4 jam jars or at least a large litre kilner jar and will be enough to fill 24 mince pies!
I made this today and as I had no blackberries and obviously wasn’t forward thinking like many bakers during WW2, I was able to just pop along to my local Sainsbury’s a buy a frozen basics bag of forest berries which includes blackberries. They’ve worked very well!
I tasted a spoonful before bottling and it tastes very much like a mix between traditional mincemeat and apple pie mixture. Very tasty!
Blackberry Mincemeat for Christmas Mince pies.
1 lb blackberries (or mixed berries). Use fresh, frozen or bottled.
4 cooking apples
4 oz (100 g) butter, margarine or shredded suet
4 oz (100 g) of chopped mixed nuts
1/2 lbs (200 g) of dried mixed fruit
2 – 3 rounded dessertspoons of soft brown sugar (or granulated)
8-10 drops almond essence
2 rounded teaspoons of mixed spice
Honey or golden syrup
Chop up apples and place in saucepan with a spoonful of water and soft brown sugar and simmer until apple is soft and getting pulpy.
Add berries, spice and almond essence and simmer on low for another 15 minutes stirring now and again. Switch off heat.
Add your margarine/butter/suet and stir in until melted
Add chopped nuts and dried fruit and stir (at this stage if you wish you can add a dram of whisky or brandy.)
Spoon into clean, sterilized jam jars and once filled drizzle the top with a little warm honey or golden syrup to seal before adding lid.
Store in the fridge or somewhere cool until needed when you make your mince pies at Christmas!
Should keep for 3 – 6 months in the fridge!
So here is the first promised Wartime Christmas themed recipe for our ‘Wartime Christmas Countdown’ here on www.the1940sExperiment.com.
This is a recommended Christmas Cake recipe from the Ministry of Food in the mid 1940’s and the rationed ingredients make a very acceptable cake. My son works in Tesco’s so I was able to go shopping last night with him and get a 10% discount on my shopping! (he has a staff discount card!). Every little bit helps!
Wartime Christmas Cake – Ministry of Food
4 oz (115g) margarine
3 oz (85g) of soft brown sugar
1 lb dried mixed fruit
2 reconstituted dried eggs or 2 fresh eggs
3 level tablespoons of warmed treacle or golden syrup
8 oz (225g) of plain flour
1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon of mixed spice
3 tablespoons of cold strained tea
(I also added a slug of dark rum!)
Line a 7 inch (18cm) cake tin with greaseproof or parchment paper.
Pre-heat oven to 150 C (300 F), Gas Mark 2.
Cream the margarine and sugar.
Gradually add the beaten eggs then the syrup or the treacle.
Sift all the dry ingredients together then add to the creamed mixture and then add the fruit and tea. Add a slug of rum or rum essence if you wish.
Spoon into the cake tin and make a hollow in the centre so the cake will be flatter on top.
Bake for 2 to 2.5 hours or until the top is firm and the sides are slightly sinking away from the side of the tin. (You may need to cover top with foil half way through cooking).
Cool in the tin.
When cool remove from the tin and place in airtight container.
Over the coming weeks you can feed the cake with rum/whisky/sherry and nearer Christmas you can finally ice and decorate!
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