So - this is what I typed up the day I made it. You need a really big crock or jar to let this steep in. I have a 3 gallon jar that i used, and it was about 2/3 full, so somewhere around 1.5-2 gallons of finished mincemeat. Each pie uses about 2 cups of mincemeat and 2 cups of apples (I used equal parts instead of the suggested ratio). I wound up adding a full bottle of brandy and almost a full bottle of sherry the day I made it. And added the rest of the sherry and maybe another cup of brandy a week or so later. It's absorbed most of the liquid by this point (6 weeks later), but it's not so dry I think it needs more. I still have most of the 2nd bottle of brandy still in the cabinet. I used Trader Joe's alcohol - so cheap but decent. Don't spend a lot of money on it (I think the brandy was $9/bottle).
Make sure your lid is bug proof. Mine is not, so a sheet of wax paper under it proved a really good idea (secure it with a rubber band if necessary), or it would have been full of fruit flies. As it was, every time I opened it I had to shake off the layer of dead flies. To give it away, I just filled pint jars with it, added a shot of brandy to each jar (to keep it moist), and sealed the lids. It'll keep like that for quite a while. Make sure the recipients have the instructions to add tart apples (I used Fuji).
I will say that if you plan to make this next year, buy the candied peels now, or plan to candy them yourself. They are not available in most places 11 months of the year (although I think bakerscatalogue.com carries them year-round).
If you're going to use this in an uncooked recipe (like the mincemeat ice cream recipe I'm eyeing), mix it with the apples and cook it until the apples soften and it no longer smells of alcohol before cooling and continuing with the recipe.
Mincemeat My Way
The original recipe was a bit short on the details - what kind of figs, whether the citron was fresh or candied, whether the sherry is sweet or dry, etc. I made this with what I could easily find (and my best guess). I used the candied peels because I had them, and most other recipes I looked at used candied and not fresh. I added the fresh zest for more of the flavor, though (but in hindsight probably could have skipped it).
2-3 pounds Beef Rump or Bottom Round, trimmed
1 Beef Tongue, (2-3 pounds)
1 pound Beef Kidney Suet (not rendered fat, the fresh fat - ask the butcher, you may have to order it)
4 cups Raisins
4 cups Golden Raisins
2 cups Currants
1 cup Candied Citron, Diced
1 cup Candied Orange Peel, Diced
1 cup Candied Lemon Peel, Diced
1 cup Dried Black Mission Figs, Chopped
3 cups Sugar
1 teaspoon Ground Clove
2 teaspoons Salt
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
2 teaspoons Ground Allspice
1 whole Nutmeg, Grated
2 bottles Brandy
1 bottle Cream Sherry
Zest of 1 large orange, Finely Grated
Zest of 1 large lemon, Finely Grated
Simmer the beef and tongue in water to cover until tender, approximately two-three hours (you want it easily forkable, but not mushy/shredding). Remove from the heat and cool. Remove any fat from the beef roast, skin and trim the tongue. Cut both into cubes and run them, along with the uncooked suet, through the food processor in batches, pulsing to chop finely (do not turn to mush).
Into your biggest bowl, add all the remaining ingredients except the brandy and sherry, and mix well. Pack into your long-term storage container, then add enough brandy to make a nice gooshy mixture (I had to use the entire bottle of brandy and most of the bottle of sherry that first day). Cover and let stand for at least a month. After a week or so if the mixture has absorbed most of the brandy, add enough sherry to moisten again. Lift the lid every week or two, add brandy and sherry alternately as needed to keep the mixture moist.
There was no note to stir the mixture, so I never did, but in hindsight I probably should have. The top layer is a bit dry while the bottom layer is quite wet - so when measuring it out I scooped from the bottom.
When you're ready for pies, add one cup chopped tart apples to each 1 1/4 cup of drained mincemeat before using.
4 c of raisins = approx 1.75 lbs
1 c candied citron = approx 6 oz or .3 lbs
1 cup chopped dried figs = approx 6 oz