Mince Pies.. the finale

Ok so to the finale of the mince pie epic tasting. So far the Tesco and Sainsbury’s haven’t been great and our resolve to find the best mince pie is being shaken. So we are stepping it up to see what M&S and Waitrose have to offer.

The Pies

  • Marks and Spencer – All Butter
  • Marks and Spencer Bakery
  • Waitrose by Heston

Marks and Spencer All Butter

MandS_AllButter

At this point I’ve lowered my expectations for pre-made pastry. Even though it looks like we’ve stepped up to a ‘luxury recipe’ the pastry looks dry. The filling here though was pretty near spot on and we had a good amount of it.

MandS_AllButter_Half

However, the age old problem reared its head for this pie: too much crust. It was almost there but the pastry was a little too dry and so just brought the whole experience down.

MandS_AllButter

Marks and Spencer Bakery

MandS_Bakery

In a chance passing of the M&S Bakery section they had two mince pies left so I had to snap them up. The photos don’t quite show off their size but they are much larger than the pre-made pies we’ve tried to date. I’d estimate them to be slightly smaller than the palm of my hand. Almost big enough to share… if you like to share your mince pies.

MandS_Bakery_Half

The pie isn’t very deep but it is rammed full of filling. The lid is also not fully attached so the filling can bubble through as it cooks. The first thing I’m looking for now is a good pastry and thankfully the bakers and Marks and Spencer have cracked it. It was the first to have a buttery crumbly pastry that crumbles in a good way. To round things off the filling had just the right balance of sweetness. This was the first pie that we really enjoyed eating!

MandS_Bakery

Waitrose by Heston

Heston

I surprise offering appeared when I got home last week. The crazy man that is Heston Blumenthal has whipped up a mince pie for Waitrose. I should have know that this wouldn’t be any ordinary mince pies as evidenced by the presence of a white packet. The packet contains a tangerine sugar that you sprinkle on top to add an exciting twist.

Heston_Top

I didn’t want to go overboard on the flavouring so I went for the light sprinkle. I have to say the overall taste of these were very good. Having an interesting spicy/sweet filling that was well balanced with the sugar sprinkles.

Heston_Half

However, It would be remiss of me not mention the biggest bug bare of all these tastings: The Pastry. Here there was none. The filling is surrounded by a gingerbread style cake mixture, so for me this failed as a mince pie. It was tasty but the buttery flaky styling wasn’t part of this experience.

Waitrose_Heston

Conclusions

So there was a fair few pies scoffed in the name of ‘science’. Much despair was had at mass pastry production offered by all the supermarkets. The true answer is probably to make our own and I may try that if I find some time. That said I’ll be stocking up on the gem that comes from Marks and Spencer’s bakery. Not only was it the tastiest it was also the largest so you can stack up the Christmas cream, yum! Do you have a different favourite? Are mince pies not your thing? Let me know on Twitter or FB