Marks & Spencer Luxury All Butter Deep Filled Mince PiesNumber 5
£2.29 inc VAT for six
Marks & Spencer’s success last year saw us hunt down a second offering this year. One of the most visually pleasing pies thanks to an intricate snow-flake pattern, the chunky fruit rich filling, including glace cherries and sultanas, impressed and despite claiming to have “lashings of brandy and port,” the boozy taste never threatened to over power. The only criticism was that the buttery crust, a little thicker to accommodate the snowflake pattern, was a little too crunchy for some. Otherwise, this is a fine pie, catering to those for whom the standard M&S isn’t enough.
Tesco Finest Deep Filled Mince PiesNumber 6
£2.00 inc VAT for six
The shortcrust pasty casing of Tesco’s Finest Mince Pies, while pleasingly crunchy, lacked a little in flavour and was in need of an extra dollop of butter. There was a worryingly large amount of empty space inside too, with a distinct lack of filling. The filling itself wasn’t too bad, but again lacked meaningful flavour; while some pies we tested were too rich, or too boozy, the Finest wasn’t too much of anything, and this made it dull. The overall package, while unimpressive, didn’t have anything seriously wrong with it though.
Marks & Spencer Butter Rich Mince PiesNumber 7
£1.59 inc VAT for six
Marks & Spencer returned to defend its mincemeat topped crown from last year and the judges were immediately impressed. Soft, buttery pasty and a fruity, citrus infused mincemeat filling combined to produce a pie of the highest quality that we’d happily serve up on Christmas Eve. While there could be a little more filling, and a little more butter in the pasty, to quote one of our judges, ’that’s how mince pies are meant to taste.’
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Duchy Originals All Butter Pastry Mince PiesNumber 8
£3.99 inc VAT for six
Despite the fact that our testing was conducted blind, our judges instantly knew they’d bitten into a Duchy Mince Pie. Following our past tests, we knew what to expect and while this year’s offering is a marked improvement on last year’s, it’s still terrible. While the crust is buttery and pleasant, the filling, in what the packaging describes as ‘a tangy twist on a Christmas classic,’ contains flavours that just shouldn’t be there, making it a thoroughly unpleasant pie. We wonder how Harry and William get out of eating them every year?
Harrods Mince Pies With CranberriesNumber 9
£7.95 inc VAT for six
Harrods’ offerings are the most expensive pies on test, but their crunchier than average pastry and tad too boozy filling split opinion within the judging team. None of our blind trial taste testers were able to discern the added cranberry element either, and the general consensus was that the Harrod’s pie was inoffensive, without being spectacular. For this price though, you’d expect the best and the Harrods pies weren’t it.
Waitrose All Butter Mince PiesNumber 10
£2.29 inc VAT for six
Waitrose’s mince pies bare no identifying marks, but the crunchy style pastry was buttery and tasty. The filling however revealed a highly variable quality between pies, swinging from delicious to downright disgusting despite a healthy helping of fruit. Perhaps we just got a duff box, but we don’t fancy the prospect of mince pie Russian roulette when it’s time for the Queen’s speech, so the Waitrose pies are best avoided
Marks & Spencer Butter Rich Mince Pies
Do your tastes differ to those of the highly experienced pie-fessionals here at bit-tech? Does your Nan make the best mince pies? Or are from abroad and have never heard of these pies of mince, which clearly contain no meat? Let us know in the forums.