One of the great traditional foods of a British Christmas is mince pies. You might think this involves meat of some kind, but you'd be wrong. Yes, mince pies contain mincemeat, but there's nothing minced in it, and no meat. Dried and fresh fruit are cooked up with nuts, spices, fat and booze, and the result is delicious.
Put the butter in the freezer. Peel, core and finely chop the apples. If the prunes and dates have stones, remove them and finely chop the flesh. Chop the almonds. Grate the zest from the orange and lemon, and squeeze the juice from them. Place everything except the butter and the brandy into a large saucepan. Bring to the boil, and then turn down the heat and simmer for an hour. Add water if the mixture is too thick. When everything has boiled down to a brownish gooey mush, remove the pan from the heat. Remove the cinnamon sticks, a wait for the mixture to cool completely.
Sterilize 5 glass jars and their lids by boiling them in water for 10 minutes. When the mincemeat is cool, grate the butter and toss in flour to coat each shred. Stir into the mincemeat along with the brandy. Spoon the mincemeat into your jars, and top with a spoonful of brandy.
Put the lids on the jars. This mincemeat is ready to use straight away, but it will keep for several years - the brandy takes care of that!