How do you like your mince pies? Plenty of fruit, lashings of brandy, rich and buttery pastry, a satisfying crunch from added nuts?
A family Boxing day gathering brought together five mince pie samples for a fun little taste-test. For comparison were samples from Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Marks and Spencer and an independent ‘deli’ brand. Eight tasters rated each blind looking at the overall appearance, the pastry, the filling and fill level and the overall taste, awarding each a score out of 5.
In the order given to the tasters the results were:
- Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Mince Pie (£1.60*) – 97 points
- Marks and Spencer Deep Filled Mince Pie (£1.65) – 58.5 points
- Marshfield Bakery Handmade Mince Pies (£3.50) – 97 points
- Waitrose All Butter Mince Pie (£2.19) – 77.5 points
- Tesco Puff Pastry Mince Pie (cheap*) – 70.5
The most disappointing was the last (different to the others being a puff pastry slice rather than a pie) as it really lacked much in the way of mince meat filling. The Waitrose version was the only one that tasted of brandy but most thought the filling overly rich especially when combined with the very buttery pastry. Many mentioned the (perhaps excessive) use of lemon peel in the Marshfield Bakery pies, one I didn’t take too much but they really looked homemade coming complete with ill fiting lids.
The M&S Classics, not their top of the range version, was universally derided with poor tasting pastry holding a poor level of very sloppy, runny mincemeat. Of the supermarket three appearance was pretty much similar although the Sainsbury’s pie had an extra dusting of, entirly unnecessasary, sugar.
The price is shown above but was not revealled to the tasters; Sainsbury’s have deleted all mincepies fom their website so the price is approximate. Tesco requires registration before viewing which I decline to do.