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Appetizers / Snacks

Mincemeat with Walnuts

When it comes to planning a holiday party, appetizers are often at the top of the list. Because they’re bite-sized and individually portioned, they’re the easiest type of food to prepare and eat.

A selection of cheeses is a simple way to fill the table, and a variety of textures and flavors makes the spread enticing. Then, because fruit and cheese are a classic combination, transform the cheese plate into something really special by serving it with homemade mincemeat and crackers. Simply simmer dried fruits with citrus and spices, then finish with brandy and toasted walnuts to make a festive and tasty accompaniment.

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Test Kitchen Tips

Store the mincemeat in an airtight container up to two weeks. If necessary, moisten the mincemeat with additional brandy.

Traditional mincemeat was developed as a way to preserve meat. This involved baking a mixture of minced beef, venison, or mutton, and beef suet (fat), dried fruits, spices, and wine or vinegar. It was served as a savory main course pie. With the addition of more sugar, and brandy (instead of wine), mincemeat evolved into a sweet pie served for dessert. Today, most recipes, like this one, stick to dried fruits exclusively, forgoing the minced meat and suet.


Toss together raisins, golden raisins, cherries, and apricots; mince 2 cups in a food processor.

Combine all dried fruit, brown sugar, zest, lemon and orange juice, cinnamon, ginger, mace, allspice, salt, and cloves in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring mincemeat to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid is syrupy, about 30 minutes.

Off heat, stir in brandy, walnuts, and vanilla. Cool mincemeat to room temperature, then store in an airtight container.


Mincing half the dried fruit makes the mincemeat hold together better as it becomes syrupy.

Nutritional Facts

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