BRAMLEY apple and mincemeat pudding is a must-try this Christmastime.

It’s also an excellent way to use up those half jars of mincemeat lurking around at the back of the fridge.

This simple pudding is a great alternative to Christmas pudding and a lot lighter too.

So if you’re looking for ways of using up mincemeat, look no further than this simple recipe which will guarantee to put a smile on everyone’s faces when it comes out of the oven smelling of warming, comforting spices and brandy plump fruits smothered with piping hot brandy sauce.

Scoffing mince pies has been a British tradition for centuries, but did you know that eating them at Christmas is illegal and has been for more than 350 years?

In 1657, Oliver Cromwell and his Puritan Council abolished Christmas and the festival was seen as Pagan because it was not sanctioned in the Bible.

It also offended the Puritans by encouraging over-indulgence in rich foods and alcohol drinks, along with mince pies, cakes and puddings.

After Cromwell’s death and the restoration of the monarchy, the law was disregarded but according to the Law Society today it’s never been repealed, so therefore, mince pies remain illegal as a Christmas treat.

Lawful or not, mince pies have been associated with Christmas since the 16th century and the original mincemeat contained chopped meats and spices such as ginger.

Dried fruits and other sweet ingredients were added to the filling for variety, which also helped preserve the meats without having to salt or smoke them.

Over the centuries, mince pies have shrunk in size and shape, with the proportion of fruit being increased, with meat being supplanted by beef suet and more recently cheaper vegetable fats.

We all know that mince pies are the favourite food for Santa Claus as excited children on Christmas Eve would leave him out a mince pie, a tot of brandy with a few carrots for Rudolph.

Nowadays Santa may risk being pulled over for driving a sleigh under the influence of alcohol but at least he no longer invites arrests from seasonal gluttony.

But I do agree the law does need changing – perhaps forbidding the sales of mince pies in August?

Have a great Christmas and New Year everyone, and I look forward to be sharing more of my recipes with you all in the New Year!        

Bramley Apple and Christmas Mincemeat Pudding 


2 large Bramley apples or crunchy green dessert apples, diced and cut chunky with the skin on 

2 tablespoons soft light brown sugar 

1 small lemon, zest and juice 

150g/5oz caster sugar 

150g/5oz butter, softened 

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

6 tablespoons of mincemeat mixed with a good slug of brandy, rum or whisky  

150g/5oz plain flour, sifted

One and a half teaspoons baking power 

Pinch of salt  

1 tablespoon caster sugar to sprinkle over


1. Preheat the oven to 170c/Gas Mark 5, then butter an ovenware dish.

2. Peel and dice the apples and place into a small bowl along with the brown sugar, lemon zest and, juices, then set aside.  

3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

4. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well until thoroughly incorporated.

5. Lightly stir in the vanilla extract and brandy mincemeat. 

6. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, then mix into the rest of ingredients until just combined. 

7. Scatter over the apples into the ovenware dish, then spread over the cake batter evenly.

8. Bake for around 45-50 minutes until the sponge is well-risen and golden brown. 

9. Once baked to a golden colour, sprinkle over the teaspoon of caster sugar and serve with piping hot custard.

* A Gluten-Free version can be made using the same method, except instead of plain flour use 55g sweet rice flour, 40g oats and 30g millet flour, all whisked together.