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