Mince pies are a delicious traditional treat – and our taste test this year shows you don’t need to splash out to enjoy great ones. What do you look for in a good mince pie, and how much would you spend on them?
The priciest mince pies in our taste test cost just over £2 each, but the cheapest (at 28p each) came out on top. Aldi’s Specially Selected Luxury Mince Pies (£1.69 for six) head up this year’s Best Buy list, scoring 78%. Our panel praised the lush, spicy filling and crisp, light pastry.
Lidl’s Snowy Lodge Luxury Mince Pies (£1.79 for six) merited a Best Buy too with 70%, with their fruity filling and buttery well-cooked pastry. They look festive too, with snowflake and star-shaped patterns on the top.
Looking quite different is the third Best Buy – M&S Handcrafted Ultimate All Butter Mince Pies (£4 for four). Our experts thought they could indeed pass for homemade, not that anyone would want to pretend they’d been baking when they hadn’t!
No pie is perfect
Of course, our Best Buys aren’t perfect. Our experts commented on the differing amounts of filling in pies from the same box from Aldi. They felt Lidl’s pies could have done with a bit more spice and filling, but they do taste good and are great value too.
And the pastry on M&S Handcrafted pies tended to crack when picked up. As my home-made pies have been known to fall completely to bits at a glance, I think I can live with that!
To find out how the Asda, Co-op, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose mince pies scored in our taste test, read our full review of mince pies.
You’ve told us that you prefer homemade pies, but with top-rated pies costing so little, might you be tempted to leave the baking trays in the cupboard this year?
Say no to pricey pies
So, what about that £2+ pie? Fortnum & Mason Traditional Mince Pies cost £12.95 for a box of six, but failed to impress our panel. These mince pies came last in the taste test, with our experts saying the pastry was flat tasting, soft and crumbly.
We found a similar story with our Champagne and sparkling wine taste tests this year – we found five Best Buy sparkling wines for under £10 plus a Best Buy supermarket Champagne that beat Moet & Chandon.
So while I like to push the boat out at Christmas, as far as mince pies go this year I think I’m going to go for great tasting pies costing under £2 a pack. But do you think this is being too much of Scrooge?