Hi, I'm catering for a vegan this Christmas, and would like to make mincemeat that she can eat. Nigella's cranberry mincemeat is good in that it contains no suet (or butter, which is often substituted) but it does include honey. Could I use maple syrup or date syrup instead? Or can you suggest a better substitute. Many thanks.
Nigella's Star-Topped Mince Pies (from NIGELLA CHRISTMAS) are filled with a home-made cranberry studded mincemeat. The mincemeat does not contain any animal fat (though note that the pastry in this recipe is not vegan), which means it does not keep as well as ones made with fat. The mincemeat can be kept for a week in the fridge or frozen for up to 3 months.
The honey is included as it adds to the flavour of the mincemeat very slightly, but it is also an invert sugar so it helps to keep the mincemeat moist. Date syrup is quite dark and its flavour may be a little too strong for the mincemeat. Maple syrup would be a possible alternative, though golden syrup and light agave syrup/nectar would be our preferred alternatives as they both have a more neutral flavour. Please also note that brandy should be vegan but not all ports are vegan, so do check the labelling of all ingredients before using them.