I don’t like mince pies.
‘Why would you do a taste test of mince pies then?’ you may ask in bewilderment.
Because who is better placed to judge a food than someone hyper-critical of every little detail?
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If I loved them, I’d simply stuff them all into my face and call them ‘good’.
And as someone who isn’t a fan of a mince pie, I can appreciate when they’re superb.
So to find out what shop really has the superior Christmas sweet treat, I tried M&S, Waitrose and Tesco’s variations.
Each pack had six pies each, so this really was all about flavour.
Waitrose – £1.35
As soon as I opened the pack I was impressed.
Waitrose get a top score from me just for presentation – the little pastry snowflake on top of the pie put me straight in the mood for singing carols in front of an open fireplace.
And as soon as I bit into the pie, my opinion on mince pies changed.
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Unlike an ordinary pie – because these really were extraordinary as far as the festive treats go – there was not just mincemeat in the filling, but also apricots and glace cherries.
This made them more fruity than usual and this freshness matched perfectly with the crunchy, rich all-butter pastry.
And on top of all that, they were the cheapest of the lot.
Total score: 5/5
Marks & Spencer – £1.80
M&S went the classic route with only mince meat in the shortcrust.
This meant there was less depth of flavour then in the Waitrose pies – these were a true classic.
I can appreciate that objectively, these were very good mince pies.
But I will dock them a point for the dreaded soggy bottom.
Total score: 4/5
Tesco – £1.50
Where do I even start?
The pastry was so soggy I couldn’t get them unwrapped without getting crumbs everywhere – my jeans are still stained with butter hours later.
Tesco seems to think there should be icing on everything including mince pies, and I can firmly say the two do not go together.
After biting through a half-inch thick layer of icing that made my teeth ache, I reached horribly sweet mincemeat that mushed together with the pastry into one unbearable texture.
Total score: 1/5
If you like an innovative take on a classic, Waitrose is a sure winner.
For traditionalists who think perfection shouldn’t be messed with, M&S is for you.
And if you’ve got no taste, head to Tesco.
Have a taste test you think we should do? If so, email [email protected]