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The Mince Pie Taste Test

The Mince Pie Taste Test

 

So it’s that time of year again, full of food, drink, Santa, arguments, in-laws and long avoided relatives, newsletters from people you met once on that awful holiday to Spain and of course the ubiquitous garish polyester jumpers.

For the last month or so, supermarkets have been bombarding us with adverts designed to tug the heartstrings and show off their latest twists to the classic Christmas dishes in the hopes of squeezing out a few more pennies from us. One of the items in question that always gets a twist and offered in multiple versions by all the supermarkets is of course the mince pie.

So if your not baking your own this year which ones should you pick to offer up to your family and more importantly to Santa when he stops by with your pressies? Well one office got together for us to test 12 supermarket mince pies and the results are in (Spoiler: sorry Heston it just wasn’t you’re day).

 

The Mince Pies in question:
  1. Co-op Irresistible mince pies
  2. Waitrose 1 All Butter mince pies
  3. Heston from Waitrose Spiced Shortcrust Mince Pies Lemon
  4. Co-op Deep Filled mince pies
  5. Mr Kipling Iced Top
  6. ALDI Specially Selected mince pies
  7. Morrisons The Best All Butter mince pies
  8. Morrisons shortcrust mince pies
  9. M&S The Collection mince pies
  10. Sainsbury’s Deep Filled mince pies
  11. Gluten free ALDI

 

Pies were rated on six different criteria with ratings from 1-5, giving a total score out of 30.

The criteria were –

  1. ‘Mouth feel’
  2. Crumble of the pastry
  3. Buttery-ness
  4. Ratio of filling to pie
  5. Sweet and savoury balance,
  6. ‘Christmas spirit’.

 

The Results:

11. Gluten Free ALDI

Unfortunately the judges didn’t have anything to really say about this other than it just wasn’t good.

Score: 0/30

Cost: £1.49 for a pack of 4

 

10. Mr Kipling Ice Top

“Icing on a mince pie?!” That was the first thing that was said about it and it didn’t really get any better, with comments like ‘too sweet’, ‘misguided attempt to innovate’, and ‘stop this marzipan assault – just sloppy marketing’ cropping up. The opinion was that it wasn’t really a mince pie, but just a ‘Bakewell tart with a layer of mince pie filling added’ and thus ‘Just wrong’.

Score: 7/30

Cost: £2 for a pack of 6

 

9. Heston from Waitrose Spiced Shortcrust Mince Pies Lemon

The view was that this was just “NOT A MINCE PIE!!!” Way too much pastry, it lacked mince, it had biscuitty bits, it was a nice mini dessert pie but not what you’d really call a minced pie, making it ‘just not Christmassy’. Despite this it was considered ‘non-traditional…..but evocative’, there was even a suggestion it would ‘be spot on for Thanksgiving but the cinnamon and lemon was too strange for Christmas’.

Score: 13.5/30

Cost: £3 for a pack of 4

 

8. Co-op Deep Filled Mince Pies

This was judged to be well filled but not quite sweet enough and this a decent average supermarket mince pie, though some did detect a ‘weird aftertaste’.

Score: 13.6/30

Cost: £1 for a pack of 6

 

7. Morrisons Shortcrust Mince Pies

‘Too sweet by far, but they have quite a traditional look – which I like’. Unfortunately they had dry pastry and it was thought weak on filling. That all said, it was good all-rounder and a solid performance, as the score would suggest.

Score: 14/30

Cost: £1.42 for a pack of 6

 

6. Sainsbury’s Deep-Filled Mince Pies

‘Slightly better than average’ but the pastry was a bit stiff, and while it ‘doesn’t look like much, it delivers’.

Score: 15/30

Cost: £1 for a pack of 6

 

5. M&S The Collection Mince Pies

These were very enjoyable, but there was just nothing much to cause them to stand out, making it a ‘good utility pie’.

Score: 15.5/30

Cost: £2.50 for a pack of 6

 

4. Waitrose 1 All Butter Mince Pies

These were nice, and better than M&S, but as the score reflects, they too had little to make them stand out. The main conclusion was that they felt ‘too factory-made…needs some imperfections’, a quote we love in the office, as it means the main augment against them is that they were too perfect in construction, and thus people like a little roughness, invoking a home made feel about their mince pies.

Score: 16/30

Cost: £2.50 for a pack of 6

 

3. Morrisons The Best All Butter Mince Pies

A popular pie among the judges for its filling but the pastry let it down, with comments like: ‘Looks good – but the taste doesn’t live up it’, ‘Bit too small’, ‘Pastry a bit gooey, but good balance of flavour’, and ‘Good for shop-bought. Loses marks for nontraditional top’. One poor judge found that ‘it stuck to his mouth’, but that doesn’t seem to have impacted its score too much.

Score: 17/30

Cost: £2 for a pack of 6

 

2. ALDI Specially Selected Mince Pies

It was clear from the get go that this would be high scorer thanks to the cognac in it, and boy it didn’t disappoint, “A mince pie with a kick – Appreciate the alcohol feel”, “Booze! – Very festive”, “Boozy filling – Good amount of filling”. Certainly one full of Christmas cheer.

Score: 18/30

Cost: £1.49 for a pack of 6

 

And the WINNER: Co-op Irresistible Mince Pies

This was the easy winner being the best all round performer. It “crumbles very well”, and the “nice holly decoration” was much appreciated. All in all it was “solid supermarket fayre”, with on judge thinking the filling was “good stuff, and not too currant-y”, which is good to note for those of you that share the judges dislike of currents.

Score: 19/30

Cost: £2 for a pack of 6

 

 

Conclusion:

So there you have it a win for Co-op and a disappointing performance by Heston and Waitrose. That all said, one other mince pie was tried; a homemade one, and that beat out all of the supermarket mince pies.

 

Quotes have been abbreviated for the content length. 

Feature Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

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