Ladies and gentlemen, after weeks of looking, I’ve found a 10. And in the most unlikely place imaginable – amongst the terrible selection Co-op have managed to put out to date.
The pastry is a perfect mixture of crumbly, soft, sweet and firm. I’m not sure how they’ve done it, but they have.
The mincemeat is the best too – lovely full fruit, juicy and brandy-soaked (just the right amount of brandy) and the perfect amount to.
The top is sugary but crucially not too sweet. Again, not sure how they’ve done that.
This is a tall pie – it does say deep filled but lots of them say that and they disappoint. It’s 1 1/2 inches tall and flat on top – a real big eat. Only comes in a pack of two though – and I can’t work out why?! Maybe on some stores they sell them in 4? I’ll have to tweet Co-op and find out…watch this space.
Oh dear Co-op. Such fancy packaging, such a lovely name. Yet such a poor mince pie.
Nothing much to shout about here I’m afraid folks. Pastry is just ‘claggy’ – stuck in my teeth for a minute or so after I’d finished the damn thing. Mincemeat tastes of nothing. I’ve got so many better things to do than eat a bad mince pie then write a few hundred words about it. So I’m done. Avoid. You can do better, for less.
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.
It’s clear there’s two camps in the mince pie market. There’s those happy to be the workhorse of mid to late December, bought in their dozens and eaten just as swiftly. At home cold on a plate, with brandy butter or warm with ice cream. Then there’s the upper class, the equivalent to the ‘nice china’ that you only get out for special occasions. This mince pie is the latter. And it’s amazing.
Disclaimer: if you don’t like almonds you won’t like this one.
These six handcrafted mince pies from Aldi have a frangipane topping – really nice to bite into, plenty of flavour and sweet. Might be a tiny bit too thick – should have slightly more mincemeat in my opinion. Why? Because the mincemeat is rich with brandy – more so than the other ‘boozy’ options available but still not overpowering. Full of juicy spiced fruit as well!
And finally the pastry – pretty much tastes homemade, like the ones a grandparent used to make. Flaky and crumbly but holds it’s shape.
If this didn’t have almonds on and the frangipane was slightly less deep…it would’ve had 10/10. Buy some of these to bring out and impress.
Mr Kipling. The master of cakes and baking for what seems like forever. But, what are his mince pies like this year?
Pretty good actually. You expect a decent product from Mr K and he delivers, the overall experience is very pleasant. But, with that praise comes a slight tinge of criticism. I think he’s played it safe. The rest of the year he’s got the small cake and pie market pretty sewn up. He doesn’t need to fight tooth and nail for a slice of thispie (of the mince variety). So what does he do? Puts out a pie that pleases but doesn’t wow. Safe.
The pastry may be slightly on the dry and crumbly side and the mincemeat filling is a couple of degrees to ‘paste-like’. I think there’s some ‘blended mincemeat plus some whole fruits going on. It’s not very spiced or sweet but the flavour it does have is nice.
Decent sprinkle of sugar on the top and you have a solid 7/10 mince pie. Won’t disappoint, but if you want some ‘mmmmm’ at the table plump for one of the others.
“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…
This is a big one. Heston. Equal parts inventive and bat shit crazy.
Heston turns his attention to the mince pie for Waitrose once again. This year’s offering has a ‘lemon twist’. What he’s actually done is mix a mince pie with a lemony Sussex pond pudding (no, I’ve never heard of that either).
The result is…extremely tasty and lemony. The crumble on top and the base are both exceptionally well made and perfectly crumbly, flavoursome, spiced and sweet. The filling, or least the lemon part, is perfect too – super lemony as described on the box, but what this means is that the humble mincemeat is a little lost. In fact you could serve this to someone at any point in the year without telling them it was a ‘mince pie’ and they might not guess it contained any mincemeat at all.
That’s not a bad thing. Other than the fact this is meant to be a mince pie. There’s no doubt the Heston offering is amazing – the ingredients appear top notch and it’s really unusual and rich – but as a mince pie it falls short. Not too far short, and it should certainly be something you consider purchasing to serve alongside a traditional mince pie.
Greggs mince pies have been suggested multiple times since I started on this currant-filled journey last month. Finally I found some and I’m pleasantly surprised.
Whilst the pastry is maybe very slightly on the drier side, the moist vine fruits, apple and flavours inside the mincemeat bring it all together nicely.
For me the mincemeat is tipping more towards tart than sweet (as advertised) but they’re still a really nice pie. A wide and flat ‘form factor’ gives them a nice point of difference and makes them feel bigger too.
If you want to avoid the supermarket pies the Greggs option is completely sound.