Review: Look at that box! These are some fancy mince pies. M&S know how to do food so I’m excited about trying these…
The pie is quite large, it doesn’t taper towards the bottom like most do. The top is as fancy as the box, with an intricate star motif and icing sugar to finish. On first bite I think it’s a bit soft – not too soft but not perfect either.
The filling is the star of the show here, full of delightful fruit and a glug of cognac. But the overriding flavour is orange from the clementine advertised on the box. Glad to see a mince pie tasting like it’s advertised for once, but the orange maybe causes the spice and fruit of the mincemeat to fade a little too far into the background.
Still a very good mince pie M&S, happy to have these at the table over Christmas.
Review: I didn’t know this existed – but seeing as how much people know I like mince pies, a colleague brought this by my desk for me to try (I encourage this by the way!). I’ve had Joe&Sephs popcorn before and so it’s more the flavours that I’m reviewing here. The packet says “Popcorn with Caramel, Brandy, Fruit and Almonds” and so it’s not quite a mince pie taste or smell, but it’s certainly festive. The popcorn is quite dark so it has a ‘burnt’ look to it – but pop some in your mouth and it’s really nice. The caramel and fruit come through and you do get a hint of the brandy – so safe for kids too. Seems like the sort of thing you could pop in a bowl at a Christmas gathering and it would get a fair bit of interest – a conversation starter maybe. You can pick some up here if you want to try it > Joe&Sephs Gourmet Mince Pie Popcorn
To some a puff pastry mince pie is heresy. Certainly in my opinion you can get a very poor puff pastry mince pie. This is not one of those.
Maybe in my last post I portioned the mince pie market a little hastily – I think there’s three types. The workhorse, the very special and now the trick pie (I’d add icing topped pies alongside the puff pastry variety).
The puff pastry in this ‘pie’ is really great, silky yet with enough crunch to be a true puff pastry. A good shake of chunky sugar crystals on top and a really lovely mincemeat hidden inside. There’s enough mincemeat to make sure this isn’t too dry (as happened with the previously Review puff pastry pie) and not too much that it turns soggy.
If you want a ‘trick’ pie – something different but still really tasty, this is a good shout.
“How!?”, I hear you cry. “How can the standard Tesco pie score the same as the Finest?” You’re angry, it’s understandable. Calm down and read on mince pie lover…
I don’t take this ‘job’ lightly, nor do I ignore the costs or hierarchy that have become so entrenched in the UK mince pie market (surely the world’s most mature?) A ‘Finest’ or ‘Extra Special’ pie is judged more harshly than a standard pie. Simple. I expect more from them.
Back to the task at hand. This is a great little mince pie. Very slightly smaller than its Finest cousin, but the taste from the pastry is great. A definite buttery after taste. Probably not enough sugar on top and the star isn’t as fancy as the design on the Finest range. But that’s nit picking.
The mincemeat is almost indistinguishable from the Finest mince pie – which makes me wonder if only the pastry and size differ here?
The whole pie tastes great and I can see many families sitting round the TV demolishing multiple packs post Turkey et al. Nice work Tesco – a pie for the people in my book.
The last few times out Tesco’s ‘Finest’ range mince pies have been top notch. The class of 2017 is a cracker too…
A nice design on top giving you a lovely Christmas feeling before you’ve even sunk your teeth currant-deep into the pie. The sugar sprinkle on top is text book – as if they’ve been reading the past reviews!
The only small negative is the bottom of the mince pie – the crust has become a little soggy and there’s a real risk of ‘mincemeat loss’ if it collapses. That would be a real shame as the mincemeat is great – really fruity and full, with a hint of the Courvoisier Brand Cognac too.
This mince pie just shows how important it is for all the elements to be perfect in their own way – a ‘perfect’ mincemeat on its own is too ‘juicy’ for the perfect pastry. So you either need a slightly thicker or drier pastry, or a slightly less juicy mincemeat. #mincepieproblems
A mighty effort from Tesco – but, can it beat their standard pie? That’s up next so keep your eyes peeled…
Being wider and shallower than the traditional mince pie gives no particular advantage to the Co-op Shortcrust offering. While eating it I did think it felt a little ‘mean’ but then you realise it’s wider so it balances out. Not sure why they’ve gone for this form factor.
Onto flavour, and overall it’s very nice indeed. There’s quite a bit of sugar on top and the shortcrust pastry is sweet anyway, but there’s significant tang from the mincemeat filling and that’s enough to balance it out.
The filling is moist but not overly so – it goes well with the slightly drier crumb of the shortcrust too actually.
I can see this being one of my favourites this year – and it’s only my second one. Nice work Co-op 👍🏻
Tasting Notes: This is a really nice mince pie. The mincemeat has a good flavour and a smooth texture, it’s on the more moist side. Nice bit of sugar on top and good sweet pastry. No more needed. Buy it – cracker!