Are you making a British recipe, but not sure what mixed spice is or where to purchase it? If so, you're in the right place! It's easy to whip up homemade mixed spice to use in sweet (and even some savory) dishes from the UK.
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When and where did mixed spice originate?
Mixed spice is a British spice blend with somewhat uncertain origins. Since it was called different names like "sweet spice," it's hard to pinpoint when it was originally created. Historians have been able to trace one of the first published recipes to a cookery book published in 1795.
Throughout the nineteenth-century United Kingdom, mixed spice became very popular in a variety of baked goods, especially figgy pudding, plum pudding, and hot cross buns. Nowadays, it's used in a wide variety of British baking, like Christmas cake, mince pies, traybakes, and biscuits, or simply sprinkled on porridge.
The key spices used in mixed spice are cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, ginger, coriander, and mace. Feel free to tweak the ratios to your taste preferences.
About swapping spices: If you leave out the cloves, coriander, and mace, you'll have pumpkin spice spice. If you swap the coriander with cardamom and add white pepper, you'll have the spices used in speculaas, the Dutch Biscoff-style biscuits. If you add cardamom and star anise, you'll have the German gingerbread spice mix called lebkuchengewurz.
- Cinnamon: Feel free to use Ceylon or Saigon cinnamon here, whichever one you prefer. I personally love the rich flavor of Saigon cinnamon.
- Nutmeg: If you haven't tried freshly grated nutmeg before, you need to; it will change your life! Grab a microplane (affiliate) and grate your own for this recipe for the best flavor.
- Allspice: This spice is not the same as mixed spice; it's actually an ingredient in it. I like to use Jamaican allspice.
- Cloves: This spice consists of the dried flowers of Syzygium aromaticum, a tropical tree. It adds a rich depth of flavor.
- Ginger: This is the dried, powdered form of the ginger root, which adds brightness and sharpness to mixed spice.
- Coriander: The round seeds of the coriander (cilantro) plant, they add aroma and a touch of sweetness to the blend.
- Mace: This spice comes from the covering that is around each nutmeg seed, and has a delicate flavor. Sometimes, it can be hard to find in grocery stores, but you can order it online.
Unless you're in the UK, it's hard to find mixed spice in supermarkets, and it's expensive to order a bottle online from import grocers. It's definitely much faster and cheaper to make your own.
This British blend really has a distinct flavor, so I'd suggest making your own rather than substituting it. If you're in a real pinch, the closest alternative is pumpkin pie spice, but realize that substituting will definitely change the flavor of your baked goods.
Absolutely! Just whisk everything together until well blended, then store in an airtight container away from light and heat for up to 3 months.
No; they're not the same. Allspice are unripe, dried berries from the tropical plant pimenta dioica (Jamaican pepper), while mixed spice is a blend of several different spices, including allspice. This chart contrasts the differences.
How to Make
Gather some cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, ginger, coriander, and mace.
If you have whole nutmegs and a microplane, make sure to grate your own nutmeg fresh; it tastes and smells amazing!
Pour all the spices into a bowl.
You should have seven spices in all.
Whisk until the spices are well combined, then strain through a mesh sieve to remove any lumps or larger chunks of spices.
Use right away in your favorite British baking recipes.
Store extra in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months.
Now, you have a whole bottle of mixed spice to use! Let's explore some delicious ways to use this fragrant sweet spice mixture.
- Mix into pie fillings, such as apple pie.
- Use in traybakes or sweet breads like hot cross buns or cinnamon buns.
- Use in Christmas desserts like plum pudding, figgy pudding, mincemeat, and Christmas cake.
- Enjoy in breakfast foods like quiche, French toast, or porridge.
- Sprinkle on a bowl of warm applesauce for a delightfully spicy treat.
- Add a pinch to savory dishes, especially egg dishes like quiche, or casseroles.
- Always use fresh spices. Throw out any expired ones in your pantry.
- Want the best flavor and aroma? Grind your own with a spice grinder.
- Sieve the mixture to remove any large pieces.
- Store away from light and heat for up to 6 months.
- Need a substitute? Pumpkin pie spice is the next closest thing.
Use mixed spice in these delicious British recipes!
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Mixed spice is a British blend that’s perfect for baking apple pies or adding to cake, cookies, hot cross buns, or Christmas baking recipes. It’s a sweet blend you can give as a homemade gift, or use to make delicious tea treats and dessert recipes.
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons ground allspice
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground mace
- ⅔ teaspoon ground cloves
- ⅔ teaspoon ground ginger
- ⅔ teaspoon ground coriander
- Combine: Mix all ingredients together with a wire whisk until thoroughly combined.
- Sift: Strain through a mesh sieve to remove any lumps or chunks of spices.
- Store: Keep the mixture in an airtight container or a mini glass jar in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Category: Spice Blends
- Method: Mixing
- Cuisine: British
Keywords: recipes using, uses
This post was originally published on August 9, 2017.