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Mince meat: the pie-nal countdown

Posted at 10:00 am, December 18, 2012 in Food & Drink

With so many mince pies on offer, knowing which ones to pick can be like stepping into a mincey minefield. If you’re looking for the perfect pie to impress your guests, or you fancy treating yourself to something a little special, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s our pick of some of the best mince pies hitting the shelves this Christmas.

GAIL's Mince Pies

A pie for all occasions
£1.20 for an individual GAIL’s mince pie, GAIL’s artisan bakery
This one wins the prize for the butteriest pastry – golden, flaky and sprinkled with icing sugar. Each pie is filled right to the top with a juicy, balanced mince filling and not a bit of candied peel in sight (who knew that candied peel could be such a divisive ingredient?). Looks homemade enough to pass off as your own creation, but at £1.20 per pie, it may be best to buy one for yourself and eat it while no pie-thieving colleagues are looking.

Mince Pie PopcornThe diet pie
£1.50 per 100g, Mince Pie Flavour Popcorn, Morrisons
A taste of Christmas that you can eat by the handful, and at just £1 a bag, it’s a very good value handful. Comments included “could be Christmas pot pourri” and “are you sure it’s not mulled wine flavour?”, but either way it’s packed full of Christmas spices (maybe a little bit too much black clove). It has a slightly odd aftertaste – the only solution is to keep on eating, and eating the whole bag is far less fattening than eating a whole box of mince pies.


Mr Kipling's Brandy Mince PiesThe ‘But I don’t like mince pies’ pie
£1.80 for 6 (price may vary), Mr Kipling mince pies with brandy flavour sauce
Mince pie fans, look away now. The pastry is akin to that of a Mr Kipling apple pie – lattice top, no butter in the pastry, packed with sugar. The ‘brandy flavor sauce’ is some sort of sludgy fondant and the spices in the fruit-light mince just don’t taste very Christmassy. Who puts turmeric in their mince? Mr Kipling does! But it was the only one that our resident mince-pie hater found palatable and comes at a more than fair price.


Paul Young's Chocolate Mince PiesA pie for chocolate-lovers
£2.50 for one or a pack of 4 for £9.95, Brownie mince pies from paul.a.young fine chocolates
This one’s a very rich pie all round and you might need a festive nap after eating it. Within a thick, crumbly shortcrust case lies a warmly spiced juicy mincemeat fillingwith a dollop of fudgy, chocolate topping. Beware – the spice in the mincemeat is pretty heavy on the cardamom. With their dusting of gold-coloured powder and cute box, they make for a good luxury gift. Not one to eat on Christmas Day, though – it might be one rich foodstuff too many.


Heston's Mince PiesThe gastro-fantastic pie
£3.29 for 4 Heston from Waitrose spiced shortcrust mince pies with tangerine sugar
They look like little edible, almond-topped Frisbees, but then food that looks like other things is, I suppose, Blumenthal’s shtick. No style over substance here, however. The substance is juicy mincemeat, lifted by a little lemon curd and grated zest in the mixture, and a delicately spiced and crumbly crust with the crunch of almonds on top. The tangerine sugar smells nice when you bite into your pie, but doesn’t add much to the overall flavour. Get a lolly and fashion a fancy sherbert Dip Dab out of it instead.

Discover more festive foodstuffs with our ten best Christmas sandwiches

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