Monday, 12 December 2011

The Mince Pie Round Up: Three of my favourites this year...

Ah... mince pies. Last year I made my own, and baked trayfuls of them. This year so far, to satisfy my Christmas cravings I've bought all sorts of varieties from different shops. So I thought I'd round them up and show you three of my favourites.

Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Mince Pies (£2.50 for 6)

I liked these - the pastry is crumbly, and as you bite you get a subtle hint of brandy from the infused fruits. The fruits in the mincemeat are sweet and plump, but the pies aren't so deeply-filled as at first they appear, as you can see from the picture below. They do look really pretty though, with their little stars and they're not too sweet or rich. Perfect when you're snatching a moment to yourself. 

Asda Iced Mince Pies (£1 for 6)

The thing I loved the most about these is that when you bite into them, the sweetness from the icing works so well with the spiced flavours of the mincemeat. I loved that they looked Christmassy too, with their little snowy white layer of icing on the top. The pastry was a bit claggy and not as crumbly as I thought it would be, but the pies were densely packed with that mincemeat (see pic below). These mince pies are actually quite rich - if I could make them absolutely perfect they'd have a pastry that was more crumbly and a slightly thinner layer of icing on top but they are a tasty sweet version of the mince pie.

Heston's Puff Pastry Mince Pies with Pine Sugar Dusting, Waitrose (£3.29 for 6)

OK, I admit it. I rushed out the day these went on sale to buy them because of the hype. And they do live up to it. The puff pastry is flaky and crisp, the mincemeat inside is sweet and juicy and the pine dusting is a really unusual touch. You dust the pies with the sugar once you've warmed them up in the oven, and the scent of the pine is released. So really although you don't taste the pine so much, you do get the aroma as you eat. They're a bit on the pricey side but are seriously trendy (pine is set to be a big flavour for food in 2012) and something really different.

What are your favourite flavours or brands of mince pies? Or do you always make them yourself?

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