Mince Pies are one of my favourite things at Christmas and over the years I have sampled a few. This year however I will be looking and reviewing the more special ones, those ones that are often double the price of their original counterparts from each retailer.
Those pies though are the ones that the supermarkets try to showcase and celebrate, and each year is a very competitive market. This year I’m looking at the bigger supermarkets and the higher price, there is no Aldi and Lidl in my list but an honorary mention to them as historically they have some of the cheapest and for some, one of the nicest pies.
To keep it fairly fair in price I’ve kept them out, the same goes for Greggs which as a mince pie goes is very good, but their special version doesn’t exist, however, you can always check my other posts to see how some of the other retailers got on.
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Sainsbury does have a bakery version, but this was their Boxed special one. A great star design on top with the filling coming through the gaps apon the star, a light dusting covers the top though the star isn’t completely symmetrical. You are immediately hit by a strong alcohol brandy style smell and this comes through when you eat the filling, which is mostly filled in the pie. It’s not overly sweet and does leave a slight aftertaste, however, the party is very nice with a lovely buttery taste and slight crumble to it.
Also, a Star shape sits on top but it overflows the top slightly, a dusting covers the top also but it’s a bit heavy-handed, so much that it covers it and is actually on the tray underneath? The pastry looks tough but actually much softer than it appears, oddly the filling was much more fruity than any other but somehow at the same time left the pie not really tasting much with no defined strong flavours.
A Star Design (see this year’s pattern) aswell on top, from a retailer, that people don’t always think of when it comes to their pies, but their classic is often quite good. This one has lots of that powdered sugar on top aswell, but the top with its start was a lot flatter than many of the others, this also helped the filling look a lot fuller in there. The flavour was quite strong of that mince pie, not too sweet, not too alcohol but just strong, the pasty looked thick but was fairly crumbly and left a buttery aftertaste even over the strong flavour of the pie.
Morrisons also have different versions and a bakery etc, but this was their “Best” pie. The pies themselves though looked much bigger than any of the other pies and had a star design… but at least it was different to the other Stars. It looked thick and you could really look down into the filling thus the thickness of the gaps, a slight dusting on top finished it. The pastry was much more dryer than the others but arguably had the moistest filling of them all to counteract that, it all tasted fine and actually somehow felt more homemade than anything.
A very theatrical Star again sits on top, but it all looks a little rough, the pastry itself though is very dry, crumbly but almost a shortbread consistency which is all a bit odd. Lots of filling packed in though and was actually all a little difficult to eat with the filling and pastry. However, the filling was a better taste than it looked though it left a very sweet aftertaste.
A star Design…yup, a little different with a two-step star however covered in a dusting with a sight dark brown edging of pastry, almost messy in design and finish surprisingly. The filling was very moist, it all felt a little small but it with the most filling and very buttery pasty felt very easy to eat, it almost melted in your mouth. however not exactly a strong flavour and much sweeter than I would have thought, a slight aftertaste especially at the back of the throat.
It’s star Season, I really didn’t notice as I was buying them how many of them were practically the same design, I get the cheaper ones to try and keep it more normal and consistent but I thought the special ones this year would be a bit more different. Personally, I don’t think I was wowed by any of them, most of these pies were at least £2+ normally, you could multiple deals if you shop smart. If you look at the scores there not really much different from the cheaper ones.
Many of them though was easier to eat and with the buttery pastry and moist filling, these went down fast. The ASDA one was tough to eat and easily the worse, the Morrisons version I think would split people being that more homemade style, it might score much higher for some, and some wouldn’t be as impressed.
Tesco and Iceland were fine, no thrills just solid and for some probably a good choice and would be their ideal one of Xmas, as for Sainsbury the same logic, it was fine and for me, it was a touch nicer than some of those others thus the slightly higher rating. Marks and Spensers felt disappointing, even though it go a 7, and probably an upper 7 as well, it didn’t do much.
I buy the classic M&S one every year and arguably it was a nicer pie. For me they still hold the crown but only just as, to be honest, they were all very similar this year, they may look special and a great gift or showpiece but worth the higher price? that’s debatable.