My pick of the the pies!
To save you wasting time and calories buying substandard pies this Christmas, I have tried and tested a mix of bakes on the market – I know what a trooper eh?! There are now more than 40 mince pies out there, with most supermarkets having a few varieties or at least a basic and a luxury pie. I tried and tested 9 of the most popular mince pies from the top supermarkets. If I had any more I would be in some brandy/pastry riddled coma for the next few weeks so I had to cut back!
I usually make my own mincemeat but it has become increasingly expensive to buy all the fruit and butter. And the selection of mincemeat is poor so this year I decided it was easier to pick up a box or two!!
We went for Aldi, Lidl, Iceland, Marks and Spencer, Waitrose, Tesco, Morrisons, Asda and Sainsbury’s. So a good range of budgets – the most expensive pies were jointly M&S and Waitrose at £1.80 closely followed by Lidl at £1.79, Iceland at £1.75, Asda next at £1.50 then Aldi at £1.49. The top supermarkets Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s all came in at £1.
Looking at how they smelt, tasted and presented I graded the pies from first to ninth. (Prices from weekend of 2nd – 3rd Dec).
Kicking off in first place was Sainsbury’s. The mincemeat was the most flavoursome, a real fruity hit and they were well filled. They held well without crumbling and although they didn’t look the fanciest they were the most uniform for filling and pastry thickness – so you know no one is being shortchanged! With tasty buttery pastry you would defintely find it hard to stop at just one. And at just £1 a box you don’t feel guilty for eating more than one.
In second place was Asda. They looked like they were homemade and I wouldn’t hesitate to pass these off as my own! Great pastry – not too thick, the filling was just right. Not too sweet and a subtle boozy flavour to the delicious mincemeat.
Marks and Spencer won 3rd. It was close as they are a brilliant pie. One of the prettiest and the most uniform when you compared the whole box. The most buttery pastry too and well filled. The mincemeat is a bit thicker than all the rest so they hold up well when eating. Delicious.
Next was Aldi with their Specially selected Cognac steeped pies. My favourite looking, they are lovely. Not quite so well filled but a really great fruity flavour with lots of distinguishable fruit. Lovely boozy hit that would keep everyone happy! Would be amazing warm with some cream.
Waitrose came in fifth. Their box is really pretty and if you turned up with them as a gift for someone they would be delighted. A great looking pie the pastry is beautifully light and crisp. However the mincemeat was a little bland with no real fruity flavour and they are a little mean with the filling. Needed a good cuppa to get this one down.
In sixth place was Iceland. They lived up to their ‘deep fill’ claim with lots of mincemeat but there were no defined pieces of fruit it was more of a mush. They were the most inconsistant as well my pastry was lovely and thin but my hubbys was really thick. A good tasting pie though but not one I would rush out to buy again.
Next at number seven was Lidl. The most unique tasting, I had to eat a few to check if I liked it or not! I’m still not sure. Huge booze hit on this one. Great pastry, but for me, a bit too out there on flavour. Not so much of the usual mincemeat taste that I’m used to. Wouldn’t buy again.
At number eight, Tesco. The worst looking by far. The tops were all mismatched and they were quite a small pie in comparison to the others. The pastry was thick and tastes like it hadn’t seen butter or a soft hand. Overworked and dry. The filling wasn’t anything to write home about and they were the ones I didn’t even bother to finish.
In last place was Morrisons. They fell to bits on first bite. The filling was the sweetest and even my sugar addict husband couldn’t manage his. No distinguishable fruit in the filling and a bland – if super sweet – taste. Give them a swerve.
So there you have it! This review is completely based on my opinions (and vaguely on my hubands thoughts too). Let me know what you think? What have been you favourites so far?