This recipe can be used straight away, once cooled, although I prefer to store it in sterilised jars in the fridge for a few days at least to be used between now and Christmas Eve. It will freeze well too – just remove from the freezer the day before you need it and allow it to defrost overnight.
75 ml ruby port
75 g soft dark brown sugar
300 g raisins & sultanas (I like the vine fruits mix from Waitrose)
1 1/2 tsps mixed spice
40 g dried cranberries
1 satsuma, zest finely grated & juice squeezed
30 ml brandy
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 dessert spoon of golden syrup
Pour the port and sugar into a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Then add the dried fruits, spices and the zest and juice of the satsuma. Simmer gently for 20 minutes or until the port is soaked up by the fruit. Remove from the heat and add the brandy, vanilla extract and golden syrup. Give it all a good stir and pour into sterilised jars. Store in fridge for up to 3 weeks.
And to drink with mince pies? Mulled wine is probably best but, on Christmas Eve, when friends call in during the early evening, it’ll probably be a glass of Champagne – not a great match but sometimes it just doesn’t matter!