Christmas comes but once a year, to fill us all with festive… food. Namely mince pies, which vary from being awful to utterly delicious. As has become tradition (and Christmas is all about traditions), we’ve grabbed a load of pies from supermarkets and boutique fooderies to see which best. We’ll tell you what you should be buying to treat yourself, and what to serve to those fussy relatives that insist on coming round and chatting for hours about boring things, making you miss the Doctor Who Christmas special or whatever else is on the Hyperactive Nephew Pacifier.
Looking more like a homemade pie than a mass-produced one, we had high hopes of Christmas goodwill in pie form. Alas, while the pies were structurally sound - and therefore ideal for handing around at swanky festive buffets with mulled wine - the taste was only slightly above average. A poor show for such a high-class maker and such pricey pies.
If you're planning a large Yuletide soiree, complete with mulled wine, cider and punch, you'll want a pie that's not too pricey but that'll stand up for itself on the palette. Look further, as these pies pack a fruit-peel punch that'll keep your guests happy. There's a generous amount of tasty, flavoursome filling and the pastry holds together well.
A gluten-free Christmas can be tricky, as most festive food includes stodge as a main ingredient. However, while Genius should be commended on making pastry that avoids using most of the typical ingredients, the replacement for wheat flour appears to be dust. The pastry was exceptionally dry and flavourless, disintegrating on touch; the filling wasn't pleasant either.
From the packaging to the smell to the instant burst of creamy, buttery pastry taste, these pies are a delight. At a pound a pie, they might seem extravagant, but the hefty size and generous filling - plus the sublime flavour - makes them reasonable. One of us thought the pie a tad dry, so a glass of cognac or Sauternes wouldn't go a miss. And a smoking jacket and slippers, obviously.
Despite having the full gamut of ingredients - unlike the Genius gluten-free pies - the Lattice were exceptionally dry, with filling that lacked flavour and definition. Even more bizarre was the feeling that there was too much pastry involved; it formed a cloying mess in the mouth, which is quite the achievement considering the lid had half as much pastry as any other pie test. Avoid.