/ Food & Drink

What’s the best way to enjoy a mince pie?

While our expert panel agreed which were the Best Buy mince pies in our recent taste test, there’s plenty of disagreement about the best way to eat them. Warm or cold? With brandy butter or cream? How do you eat yours?

We can give you our verdict on the best traditional mince pie, but the jury’s out on the perfect way to enjoy them.

Our seasonal taste test of mince pies looked at traditional luxury pies and found that some supermarket own label pies scored better than luxury retailers.

Supermarket vs upmarket

Tesco Finest Deep Filled Mince Pies with Courvoisier (£2.50) and Waitrose All Butter Mince Pies (£2.49) were placed ahead of pricier pies from Harrods and Fortnum & Mason. But discount store Lidl’s Deluxe Mince Pies (£1.69) didn’t do so well.

It was a different story with the less traditional recipe luxury pies. M&S The Collection 12 Topped Mini Mince Pies (£4.99) came out on top along with Harrods Almond Topped pies (£8.95 for six large pies) and this time Lidl’s not so pricey Deluxe Mini Pies (£1.69) came third.

Our expert panel were looking for a good-textured filling which kept the shapes of the original fruit and a crisp short pastry that wasn’t over- or under-baked. They also gave scores on taste, aroma, appearance and texture. Our panel were expecting more of a spicy mince pie aroma during the tasting than they found on the day.

The panel sampled 29 different pies during our taste test but even then they simply couldn’t cover every pie from every retailer and brand. So if your favourite mince pie is missing from our line up let us know what it is, and why it’s so good.

Some like it hot

The aroma of warm freshly-baked mince pies conjures up the feeling of Christmas. But it’s easy not to go to the bother of heating up shop bought mince pies even if the pack recommends that they’re best served warm.

Members of our expert panel were quite clear that mince pies are best enjoyed warm but I’m sure plenty of people, like me, think they’re delicious straight out of the box too.

Some people scorn shop bought pies altogether, preferring to make their own and sample them before they’ve gone cold. Our panel easily spotted the home made pie, baked by expert baker Patrick Moore of the More? Artisan bakery, in the tasting, rating it very highly.

Lifting the lid on serving suggestions

Patrick shared his recipe with us, and suggested serving the More? Ultimate Mince Pie with rum butter or vanilla ice cream as a dessert. I can tell you, though, that it was delicious on its own. But our panel weren’t as keen on some of the less traditional style pies that came with a topping. Asda Extra Special Mincemeat Brandy Buttercream Tarts (£2) and Mr Kipling Mince Pies with Custard (£1.79) weren’t rated too highly by our panel.

As well as custard and brandy or rum butter, I’ve seen people top their mince pies with single cream, double cream, whipped cream from a can, Greek yoghurt or ice cream. I’ve heard that some people eat them with Stilton but I’m not convinced that’s true. Do you like cheese with your mince pies or perhaps something even more unusual on the side?

As far as I’m concerned, the perfect way to enjoy a home made mince pie is with clotted cream and I prefer to lift off the lid and put the cream inside, but you might disagree!

Which mince pies get your thumbs up? And what do you believe is absolutely the best way to eat them?

How do you like to eat mince pies?

Hot or warm (34%, 649 Votes)

With cream (double, single, whipped or clotted) (18%, 339 Votes)

Cold, straight from the box (13%, 248 Votes)

With rum or brandy butter (11%, 213 Votes)

With custard (7%, 133 Votes)

With ice cream (7%, 132 Votes)

I don't like mince pies (5%, 105 Votes)

With Stilton or other cheeses (3%, 55 Votes)

With yoghurt (1%, 27 Votes)

Other - tell us in the comments (1%, 18 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,047

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Before I forget, I hope you mince pie lovers are looking forward to Tesco’s Christmas themed crisps – one of which will be mince pie flavoured! The others are just as eyebrow raising… http://www.metro.co.uk/news/881822-tesco-launches-new-festive-collection-of-christmas-inspired-crisps

Lesley says:
22 November 2011

I love homemade Mrs Hanrahan’s Sauce on mince pies and other desserts. The base keeps in the fridge for ages, ready to add to whipped cream.

warmed in oven,NOT microwave. lift lid, add brandy or rum serve with whipped cream

Jacqueline Pye says:
24 November 2011

Warm vegetarian-friendly mince pies, please. Perhaps just a couple. Oh, go on then, three! I like to make ours, and slip a little triple sec in before baking, for those pies not destined for children.

Father Christmas says:
10 December 2019

What next, vegetarian turkey?

Try Tofurky.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Turkeys are omnivorous but I suspect that many of them are vegetarian.

Are you the real Father Christmas?

How can you ask such a question, Wavechange?

From a Marx Brothers movie [A Night at the Opera?] –
“Have you read the Sanity Clause?”
“No . . . I don’t believe in the Sanity Clause”.

I was Father Christmas once. Some people think I still am.

There’s an admission, John. I had you down as a sober, serious guy who wears a tie and three-piece suite.

In an act of Christmas charity I negated Jaqueline’s negative ‘thumb’, which might have been a present from ‘Father Christmas’ or been there for the past eight years.

Ho, Ho, Ho…

Hmmm…appears the ordering has only been changed in the Welcome to W?Cs topic. Interesting.

Yes, Ian – those were my first words when I went on stage and I nearly fluffed them.

peter hodgson says:
10 December 2011

I’m going to see how Waitrose champagne compares with the lanson black label that I always buy but as lanson suits me I don’t think I’ll be changing.

I always eat my mince pies with Stilton at Xmas and with a glass of Lanson and I find that is the taste of Xmas for me but probably disgusting to everyone else! Do try it though.

peter hodgson says:
10 December 2011

The best mince pies I have found and everyone who has tried them agrees are the Brandy rich ones from sainsbury, I tried all the Waitrose range this week and found they had far too much pastry, very little taste and were very disappointing, especially Heston Blumenthal ones.

Lastly, why is Stilton from Supermarkets getting crumblier and less creamy as time goes on?

I warm my homemade ones up in the microwave for a few seconds, lift the lid off and add a nice cold piece of Wensleydale Cheese. Sadly I now live in Australia and we cant get Wensleydale so I am trying to introduce my aussie friends to this custom using cheshire cheese.

I think the cheese thing is a Yorkshire thing??

Small ears says:
12 December 2012

Sweet mince pies with gravy is the way forward lads

Tim bates says:
23 December 2014

Has anyone added another alcohol to their pie? A splash of vodka, whisky, or something?

Tim bates says:
23 December 2014

I have got my pies but although I am not drinking alcohol I think adding it to a pie either on or under the pastry is an acceptable option this year. But which miniature(s) do I get? Brandy seems to be one option according to a post above.

Mark C. says:
26 January 2016

I usually add brandy to mince pies, either after or before heating in microwave for about 30 seconds. About a capful for 2, or a little more if you love brandy! Its a good sound hearing the crackling fruit after the brandy is added!