We at the B.P.A. were cogitating over a glass or two of Mulled Wine and a selection of savoury Pies when some bright spark suggested…. “We should do a review of Mince Pies for Christmas!”. “Good Idea”, was the unanimous response, so here below are our findings.
We decided to review the Big 6 Supermarket offerings and chose their luxury/deluxe/special/best/finest etc range to make a sensible comparison. We also included a Mince Pie from a local bakery to see if local handmade could stand up to the uniformity of mass production.
So the pies under review were:
Tesco’s Finest Mince Pies
ASDA Extra Special Mince Pies
Lidl Deluxe Mince Pies
Morrisons The Best Mince Pies
Aldi Deep Filled Mince Pies
Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Mince Pies
Robinsons: The Master Bakers Mince Pies (the local option)
For the tasting, four of us got around a table after an afternoon visit to Pieminister (see the review on the 18th of the 12th) and we divided each pie in half. We took into account the look, did it look appetising. The tase of the pastry. The crumbliness of the pastry. If the pie was fully filled, or if there was an air gap between the pastry lid and the filling. The fruitiness of the filling. The taste of the filling, and it’s consistency, firm, soft, runny etc. and then the overall flavour and pleasure gained from eating.
Decorated with a pastry North Star and a generous coating of caster sugar, the pastry was a little dry, very crumbly to the extent that it made it difficult to eat, the filling was tasty, but a little too firm and glutenous and over all we were disappointed as we had seen reviews where the Lidl Mince Pie gained top marks.
Decorated with a pastry Holy and a sprinkling of sugar the pastry was good, about the right amount of crumbliness, the filling was not quite as good as the Lidl pie, but a better consistency. It didn’t clog up your moth like the Lidl pie did.
Looked like they were made in store rather than mass produced, didn’t have any decoration on the top, just a sprinkle of sugar. They were a much deeper and heavier Mince Pie (see the pictures below for a comparison in size). The pastry was the thickest of all the pies but was the right level of crumbliness and had a more buttery taste, also it did not fall to pieces when you took a bite. The filling was just about the right consistency, with plenty of fruit and was a little sweeter than the fillings of the other pies and had a slightly more nutmeg flavour.
A pastry Double Star lid, this was the only pie not fully enclosed. The pastry was tasty, the right amount of crumbliness, but not as good as the Morrisons pie, the filling was a little more sticky and glupy, but better tasting and you could taste the brandy flavouring, but there was a bit of a strange aftertaste. The Sainsbury’s pie looked the best so far but not the best tasting.
Robinsons Bakery (Local)
No decoration on this pie but plenty (too much really) of caster sugar. A slightly wider pie, about the same width as the Morrisons pie but only a quarter of the depth, however the pastry was the thinnest of all the pies and the filling was a packed as tight as could be, no air gap at all. The filling was a good consistence, about the same as the Morrisons pie, but it was obvious that the filling was not a standard filling but a bakery recipe as you could really taste each of the fruits, orange, apple, raisins, etc. A very nice filling, quite tart infant, but still with there required sweetness. Easy to eat with the right amount of crumbliness to stay in your hand when you took a bite rather than end up all over the floor as per the Lidl pie.
Snowflake decoration on the top, when cut open it looked the least appetising. The pastry was very crumbly, and the pie fell apart when taking a bite. The filling was fruity, of medium consistency and tasted ok, but there was nothing in this pie that made an impression other than the fact that they fell to pieces and made a mess all over the table when we nit into them.
Two stars as decoration on the top, not much in the way of sugar sprinkled on top, quite sparse in fact. The pastry was very crumbly and almost like a shortbread. Again this fell apart when bitten into it. The pastry tasted a little like it had almond/marzipan mixed in it, and the filling although was a good constancy had a slightly strange taste which we believe was down to the Cherry Syrup that was documents as part of the ingredients.
And so to the over all result……
Unanimously, we all felt that the Morrisons Best Mince Pie was indeed the best and our winner for 2018 from the Big 6 Supermarkets. This had nothing to do with it’s large size (it being the biggest and heaviest), but it was down to the fact that the pastry was tasty, and just about the right level of crumbliness, It wasn’t too dry and didn’t cement up your mouth like some of the other pies did. The filling was really fruity and tasty with the nice blend of spice and sweetness. It tased more like a traditional home made Mince Pie like your Grandma used to make. And last but not least you could eat the whole pie without having to scoop up bits from the table so you didn’t end up with sticky fingers.
Of course that’s not the end of the blog though because what of the local bakery offering. Well…. we all felt that the local Robinsons Bakery Mince Pie was probably the best overall but we’d only thrown it into the mix just to see how it faired and we really weren’t being fair to the supermarkets to put them up agains something that had only just come out of the oven a few hours earlier. But they were blooming good Mince Pies so perhaps what we should be saying is Support your local bakery and buy local rather than the big supermarket brands. After all it is Christmas and you deserve a treat.
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from the BPA team.
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