Would you believe that I never had a mince pie until I moved to the UK? Yeah, weird, isn’t it? It’s one of those strange cultural things that I still can’t really wrap my head around (mince pies don’t exist in the States), but one that I still 100% indulge in! Come December 1st, there are suddenly a stack of boxes of mince pies, to be had with our tea, and nibbled on before bed. This year, we decided to have a little bit of fun and put all the mince pies from our local supermarkets up against each other! We gathered our selection, and judged them on 3 categories: Flavor (how nice is that spice?), texture (is the crust flaky enough?) and overall aesthetic (are they cute enough for Instagram?) before giving each a score out of five! Want to know who came tops?
Aldi Specially Selected Mince Pies (Score:🎄)
I suppose it’s best to get the worst out of the way. It’s a bit of a shame really because they looked nice in the packaging. Aldi went for a slightly more rustic look with their mince pies, and also made the unique choice to dust with icing sugar. They weren’t all identical, but looked more like something I’d made in my own little kitchen! The pastry was okay, but it overwhelmed the flavor of the mince. Though, that wasn’t difficult because the mince pretty much had no flavor. We could taste a hint of the cognac and not much else. Sadly, this box will likely be binned with the remaining pies still inside.
Lidl’s Luxury Mince Pies (Score: 🎄🎄🎄🎄)
Now, here’s a mince pie and no mistake. As we New Yorker’s say, damn straight! Design… pretty with a fine detail and the perfect balance of crimping and sugar dusting. Perfectly golden, to boot. The pastry was nice and buttery, and had just the right amount of crumble. The mince had excellent flavor too; if you like a bit of spice, look no further! We finished off this box much faster than the others!
Sainsbury’s Deep Filled Mince Pies (Score:🎄🎄🎄)
These crumbly pies didn’t rank very high on aesthetics, since they didn’t look particularly nice, with a bit too much brown round the edges, and the tops cracked. I’d be proud if I’d baked these myself, but they’re not quite up to store bought snuff… If you close your eyes though, it’s mince pie heaven! Crumbly pastry, tasty mince full of flavor and a hearty portion size. That’s all you need, really!
M+S All Butter Mince Pies (Score: 🎄🎄🎄)
Marks and Sparks opted for a more simple look, though they had a nice golden color, and some sugar dusting. They were uneven as well, which Mary Berry would be disappointed by. The flavor of the mince was nice, but it was overwhelmed by the amount of pastry. P said it became a chore to eat! Not what you want from a mince pie. It would have been a 4 but it was let down by it’s uninspiring design, which is a pity, as under the bonnet (Mr. Actually’s phrase, not mine) it had some oomph.
Tesco Finest Mince Pies (Score:🎄🎄)
The prettiest design (a snowflake!) but a low scorer. They had a nice color to them, and sugar on top was used to nice effect! The flavor, however, was lacking in depth and spice, which was a shame. The pastry was decent, though it was disappointing given overall design. The only bonus was the price, with a box of 6 mince pies for £1.
I’m not sure who had more fun taste testing mince pies, me or Mr. Actually! Someone (not me…) seems to have discovered his inner Paul Hollywood, and really gave it his all. Hubby deserves a special shout out, really, for wholeheartedly getting behind my idea to have a little mince pie taste test!