I have been making my own mincemeat for quite a few years now, and this recipe is based on a recipe by Delia Smith. The house is filled with a most glorious smell during the slow cooking. n.b. this recipe contains suet to seal everything together – if you are vegetarian you can happily use vegetarian suet and it should taste just as good.
Mix everything except the brandy in a large bowl, cover with a clean cloth and leave overnight.
Pre-heat the oven to 120ºC, transfer ingredients to a large shallow baking dish, cover with foil and place in the oven for 3 hours.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool, stirring it up every now and again to ensure that everything is coated evenly in the suet. Once the mixture has cooled for an hour or so add the Cognac and stir again. Pack in to jars and seal. (I normally put in to the jars whilst it is still slightly warm.)
This supposedly will keep for up to three years in a dark cupboard, but mine rarely gets the chance to keep for that long – it makes the most delicious mince pies.