You can't catch me I'm the Gingerbread Man
Today was baking day, beginning with mince pies - another particularly British Christmas custom. When I blogged the figgy pudding , Knitrageous reminded me that eating rich fruit pies and pudding made months, even years, before is not a universal way of celebrating Christmas when she said she was not sure what it was. Of course if you know what I am talking about you can stop reading now!
In brief you lob lots of of mixed dried fruit, brown sugar, suet, grated apple, almonds, spices, zest and juice of oranges and brandy in a big mixing bowl. Give it a stir every time you pass by the bowl for the next few days, (no need to resist tasting from time to time either). Put half in jars with good fitting lids. This is the mince, and needs to be put to mature in a cool place for at least 2 months. This year I'm using up the mince I made last year, it still tastes good all I did was liven it up with a little more brandy. The mince is used to make little pies. I always use puff pastry - I believe Christmas is no time to worry about calorie intake or the condition of my arteries!
Add some flour, breadcrumbs and eggs to the other half of the mixture and fill small pudding bowls about 2/3 full. Cover with greased grease-proof paper and tie a mob cap of paper on the top. Put in a pan of water, the water should come about 1/2 way up the bowl and simmer for hours. I simmer my puddings in my slow pot, 24 hours for each pudding. Again keep for at least 2 months, longer if possible - the longer you keep them the blacker they get and black is good (like ancient oak). On Christmas day I heat it up the same way as I cook it and set it alight with warmed brandy (crepes suzette fashion) before carrying it into the dinning room and serving it with cream and brandy butter
There are lots of recipes on line which will give you measurements for all the ingredients. Mince is so called because it used to contain actual minced (ground) beef. I have never tasted mince pies with meat but might try it one day, although I will not be so lax about storage!