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.
Such promise from the festive green box, the lovely photos and promise of ‘vostizza’ currants! It’s a shame that the contents of said festive green box are a disappointment.
I do like a puff pastry mince pie – the Co-op did a particularly good one last year – but this offering from M&S has multiple issues.
The pastry is too dry – puff pastry is crumbly and dry by its very nature – but this is too much. There’s also too much of it and not enough filling – which compounds the dryness.
The filling isn’t as good as it sounds on the box either – those ‘vostizza’ currants don’t seem to make any impact, apart from on the price I imagine. Save your money and buy a traditional mince pie or the Co-op version (not yet tested but comes from good stock).
When you consider the quality, taste and texture of the Aldi Cognac-steeped mince pie I reviewed a week or so ago, I was expecting similar levels of greatness from their standard range. I was wrong.
Overall the mince pie is too dry, mainly thanks to a disappointing shortcrust. The mincemeat itself has very little defining taste, in fact I cannot remember what it really tasted of – despite finishing it only moments ago. A lack of a sugar sprinkle or tinge of warming alcohol tops off a thoroughly mediocre mince pie. Pay the extra and get the others.
Tasting Notes: This was one of my absolute favourites of recent years – I think I got through three packs easily in 2016. Aldi’s ‘fancy’ mince pie is here.
Whilst Cognac ‘steeped’ might be a bit of an exaggeration, that’s not bad thing. More ‘with a hint of Cognac’ in my opinion. But it does give it that specially selected feeling and it’s pretty festive too. The pie has a pastry snowflake on top with gives it another point of difference, a little sprinkle of sugar to top it off as well.
The pastry is as it was last time out – pretty near perfect. Crumbles just enough but not so much that it’s annoying. The mincemeat is coarse but nicely so – it’s not a paste like some pies seem to go for, you can see the individual fruits.
A lovely mince pie from Aldi again in 2017, can this be number 1 this year?
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: In a departure from the traditional mince pie, a nice layer of sweet white icing adds a Christmas cake feel athough it does look a little stark next to a standard mince pie. Maybe an icing holly leaf would’ve made these feel more special? They have a good pastry (which you’d expect from the cake masters at Kipling) with enough crumble to satisfy but not annoy. Mincemeat is tasty and sweet but not overly so – the icing doesn’t over sweeten proceedings but there’s maybe a little too much of it.