Mince Pie Reviews 2022

Mince Pie Reviews 2022

Seasons greetings!

Welcome to my first blog post! As a long time, unofficial mince pie critic, I decided to gather all my thoughts on this year's mince pie scene into a blog post. 

I feel like one of those recipe bloggers, who before giving you the damn recipe, tells you all about their husband Jeremy, and how their latest visit to their ranch in Wyoming inspired a recipe for soda bread. You learn so much information about Jeremy against your will while you search for the 'jump to recipe' button. 

I love mince pies so much, and I think the perfect mince pie should be VERY boozy, deep filled, nutty, citrusy but not tangy, not too sweet but not too sharp, jammy and juicy inside with defined, plump fruit (not fruit mush). Pastry should be short, buttery, golden brown and preferably dusted with icing sugar or caster sugar (either is fine. I'm pretty laid back in case you couldn't tell). 

So I'm reviewing supermarket mince pies - no bakeries, strictly supermarket. I also try mince pies from all my favourite bakeries every year, but I would not want to disrespect any bakeries in the public domain. Making your business work in this current climate is tough and I don't believe in picking apart people's work publically! So I'm picking on supermarkets instead, I don't know, I just feel they can handle it. 

The rules: try each supermarket's standard mince pie, and their luxury or speciality mince pies. This means buying two boxes from each supermarket.

Is it the perfect study? No. Does that bug me? Yes. I like my studies to be highly scientific, controlled, crisp and clean. But as the brandy and whimsical Christmas spirit infiltrated my body, the rules became less stringent. So for some supermarkets, I didn't manage to find their luxury/speciality mince pies (I probably could have searched harder, but going to 8 different supermarkets was a much bigger task than anticipated). 

Anyway that's enough about Jeremy, let's go! 

Waitrose - Heston's Pear & Fig Mince Pies in Cheese Pastry

This tastes like a cheese twist with a very small fruity filling. The pastry is nice and flaky, but the cheese overpowers, followed by a short-lived citrusy filling. There's a bit of fig flavour, can't make out any pear. It works as a fruity twist on a cheese twist (see what I did there?) but I do not recognise this as a mince pie. The packaging however is beautiful, and features the most festive mouse I've ever seen.



M&S Collection - 6 mince pies

Lovely pastry, it's soft but holds its own and doesn't disintegrate when you remove it from the case. Nice dusting of icing sugar. It's aesthetically pleasing, the star shape is bold and intentional. It's a good, satisfying shape and has strong sides. Filling is juicy, sultanas are plump, but no strong booze taste. There's a bit of a gap in between the filling and the lid, could have used that space for a bit more filling! 



M&S Best Ever Mince Pie

Is this cheating? Because I got this from the bakery section in M&S. Rules are made to be broken baby. Very jammy filling. Good level of booze. Tart. Nutty. Maybe a little too sharp. Pastry is tasty and they're a great size. Not a fan of the sugar crystals on top but works as a texture. Very satisfying.


Tesco Finest - 6 All Butter Pastry Mince Pies

It's very jammy with quite a juicy filling. They contain brandy and port but all I'm getting is a mild port aftertaste. It lacks that distinctive mince pie, boozy flavour. Overall it's just sweet and jammy, bordering on a jam tart vibe. Lovely pastry. Appearance wise - they also adopted the star and snowflake collaboration (another lawsuit from M&S pending?). The fill is generous enough and fills the entirety of the case. Not the worst mince but, certainly not the best.



Tesco Finest - 6 Crumble Topped Mince Pies

I had really high hopes for these because they were my favourite last year! It seems like far less filling than last year and mostly tastes of shortbread. Which is lovely and a little nutty tasting. If this was a mincemeat shortbread biscuit, it would be fabulous. But for a mince pie, we need twice as much filling at least. Filling is tasty and boozy once you get a good amount. I think my overall score is generous and probably biased because I loved these last year. I just think the concept is great but a 1:1 ratio of topping and filling would make them perfect (for a speciality mince pie). 



Aldi - Deep Filled Mince Pies

These pies made me consider if I had Covid-19. I'm not trying to be rude, I genuinely started wondering if I had any lateral flow tests in because I could not taste a thing. Barely any flavour detected. Just sugar and doughy pastry. Filling is just a sugary jam. No booze detected. Tangy aftertaste. A jam tart masquerading as a mince pie. Not much else to say. I'll give a point for the snowflake. Sorry lads.



Asda - Yummy Mince Pies

If you're going to name something yummy, I think they should taste a little more yummy. Decent pastry, it's shortbready tasting and crumbly. Filling is a little disappointing. A small hint of festive flavour but mostly sweet. There's a nice bite in the fruit, just not a lot of it. It tastes like a jarred mincemeat. Mostly pastry. It is a decent mince pie that does exactly what it says on the tin. I like the twinkly star design.



Asda - Luxury Spiced Rum Mince Pies

Wow. Booze United. Punchy. Tastes exactly like spiced rum. Pastry is firm and the mince pie is solid and didn't want to come out of the case, which is preferable over a crumbly situation. Maybe a tiny bit too sweet for me, but they were true to their word on the rum. Nice firm filling and quite generous for a supermarket pie. I think I’d be drunk off a packet. Good crunch on the fruit, it’s defined not mushy. The star situation on the top? ART.



Sainsbury’s - Taste the Difference Mince Pies

Another one from the Star X Snowflake factory, however this design feels especially strong and powerful. Pastry crumbled as I removed it from the case which is my pet peeve! It's a great sized mince pie, the texture isn't bad and there are some nice citrus flavours and hints of spice. But filling is a bit dry yet gluey at the same time. Mincemeat is not juicy and the fruit is a bit shrivelled. Flavour is ok, mostly sweet but a bit of a stale aftertaste.



Sainsbury's - Taste the Difference Ecclefechan Tarts

I'm actually not sure if this is technically claiming to be a mince pie, I think the festive box threw me off. So I'm sorry to Sainsbury's, and to Eccle for the mix up and for what I'm about to say. They are dry and hard and DRY! I know Eccles cakes aren't typically bursting with moisture but this ain't right. I wanted these to be great but they're just very almondy tasting and a bit gritty with sugar. All I’m getting is almond, butter and sugar. Which isn’t always a bad thing, but in this case it's just a bit of a hard, dry mass. Raisins feel uncooked. It's kind of a chewy lump of almondy caster sugar with uncooked raisins. Did I mention it's dry. 



Iceland - Luxury All Butter Mince Pies

Delicious! Pastry is very tasty and vanilla-ey. Mincemeat is very good and the whole pastry case is utilised with filling (NO GAPS!). Citrusy, boozy, packed full of juicy mincemeat. Great depth of flavour. Excellent booze level. It provides that burst of flavour that hits you in your chest and ignites your Christmas spirit. Rich smelling. Slightly sour aftertaste. A little anaemic looking but I think that adds to the nostalgia of it all. A delight. A pleasure to have in class.



Co op - Irresistible All Butter Pastry Mince Pies

There's an odd artificial flavour but I'm not mad at it. Filling is wet and boozy. I like it. Pastry is slightly limp, but it's tasty and nicely golden browned. They provide a longer lived taste in the mouth than some of the others, and have quite a unique, sweet flavour that’s quite different to the rest. Irresistible? Sure why not. Sweet aftertaste. Pleasant and I think the design is STUNNING and edgy.



So my winner was Iceland! Followed by Asda, then M&S.

I wonder if Iceland's proximity to the frozen world just makes them innately talented at producing warming, Christmassy mince pies. They actually contain yuzu juice which I wouldn't have identified, but it adds complexity, and further increases my respect to them for thinking outside the citrus fruit box.

Absolutely no disrespect to Aldi (and the Sainsbury's Eccle tart) for coming last. Someone's gotta come last and at least you guys were in it together. I've heard Aldi's luxury mince pies are pretty good and I shouldn't really have dragged Eccle's name into this.

In case you were worried about waste, I gave the boxes out to friends and family, saved some (my favourites) for myself, and baked some of the remaining pies into blondies and brownies.

Thank you for reading and please tell me your thoughts if you tried any of the above. If you disagree with my rankings, if there's another mince pie I simply must try. I love mince pie goss.

If you're looking for the very best bakery mince pie that embodies all of the most important mince pie factors, try a box of my frangipane topped luxury mince pies. All my mince pie research has gone into these, and I think you'll love them.


Zoe X


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