Sunday, November 09, 2008
Mince pie tryouts

We had five different types of mince pie in the house today. (This was thanks to the fact that our kitchen was playing host to a festive photoshoot, not because we are greedy.)

For your Christmas convenience, here are my thoughts on this year's crop of mince-filled morsels:

Asda: Featuring a detailed snowflake design on the pie lid, Asda's effort promises a lot from first glance. The result isn't bad – under a well-balanced crust is plummy mince with a nice variety of fruit and porty taste. I tried it hot and cold just to make sure. 7/10

Tesco: As you'd expect from Britain's biggest supermarket brand, the Tesco pie is all things to all people. The crust is average, the filling is nothing special and the overall experience is inoffensive. This is the safest bet when it comes to your Christmas pie choice. 6/10

Mr Kipling: The most disappointing of the bunch, this 'exceedlingly good' effort just isn't. The filling is sparse, verging on mean. The pastry is dry, and disintegrates instantly in your mouth, merging with your saliva and forming wallpaper paste. Sorry Mr K - you lose. 3/10

Waitrose: Posh people shop at Waitrose, so they pay more for quality. But their mince pies are a little alienating for me. While the filling makes the most of fancy ingredients like nuts and peel, the pastry's butteriness is overpowering and ruins the entire experience. 5/10

Selfridges: This is one tiny pie. It's a third smaller than any of the others in the test, and a bit beaten-up looking. But one taste and you're instantly won over - the pastry literally melts in the mouth, while the mince is generous, fruity and sweet. Happy Christmas. 9/10