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Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Mince Pies



As most of us must know, mince pies are the point of Christmas. Admittedly Christmas has become tangled up with manic shopping and sentimental twaddle about a guy in a red suit, but that is merely fluff and nonsense. Mince pies are what Christmas is all about. Years ago there was some religious stuff too, but that seems to have given way to the powerful rationality of the mince pie.

Unfortunately our finest mince pie experience came via my late mother-in-law so now we have to make do with second best, but that does not invalidate the pie's primary role at this time of year. So far we have sampled the produce of Sainsbury, Tesco, Granddaughter's play centre and a Matlock cafe.

Obviously it is early in the mince pie season and we intend many more samplings but at this stage it is worth mentioning that Tesco Finest were not particularly fine. Too sweet and not enough spiciness.

Sainsbury's Taste the Difference were not bad. Good texture, not too sweet and moderately spicy. They were still supermarket pies though. 

Granddaughter's play centre pies were probably Mr Kipling with all that this implies. At least the coffee rinsed the gunk off my teeth.

The Matlock cafe pies looked as if they came from a local bakery and were pretty good. Good texture, not too sweet and quite spicy. They didn't look as perfect as machine-made pies which ought to be a good sign. 

So all in all not a bad early kick-off for the mince pie season, but it's a pity neither of us is an expert baker. Maybe we'll try Lidl next.

11 comments:

Thud said...

Make your own you lazy bugger! straight out the oven they are hard to beat.

Woodsy42 said...

We happened to go past their new local store so we are on Aldi ones this week, they are OK. Personally I love them with rice pudding as a pudding course to a meal - but possibly I can be a bit wierd sometimes.

Sam Vega said...

I'm betting on Waitrose.

Michael said...

Mrs O'Blene's home-made mince tarts always cause TIGA (Top Internal Gum Agony), and I forget every year...

They arrive on the table at 365 degrees centigrade, and have been known to burn through the tabletop, pass the rapidly backing-off knees, arrive onto the floor, where they will make short shrift of the carpet, the floorboards, and also any structural brickwork, eventually coming to a stop somewhere near Brisbane...

Demetrius said...

The Government should impose drool regulations for mince pies.

James Higham said...

Sadly, I must let them go by, even the mulled wine, for longevity reasons.

A K Haart said...

Thud - I do lots of cooking and have made decent pastry, but if I made mince pies about 1000 calories would go down my neck as soon as they were cool enough.

Woodsy - I'm not really a pudding man - too many calories and too filling for me. My mother made good rice pud.

Sam - we don't have one nearby but if one was built I think it would be successful and Sainsbury's would suffer.

Scrobs - hot mince pies are lethal aren't they?

Demetrius - don't encourage them, the Nudge Unit may be watching.

James - I can eat them singly now the mother-in-law ones are no more. Those I could eat three or four at a time which isn't a good idea.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

By Gad, sir, do you not know anybody who makes their own?

Our mincemeat was minced about a month ago, with the determined help of grand-daughter (2) who would not be denied. Then into the Kilner jars to mature. Then the first batch last week (all gone now, of course, visiting teenagers won't be denied either), second batch just about holding up. With luck there will be some left for the actual feast.

This is the correct and only method.

A K Haart said...

WY - we don't know anyone these days. Mother-in-law made them for so long that no other source was ever contemplated.

Michael said...

Sadly, I spent several minutes this morning, comparing Tesco mincemeat offerings and some of the others...

The fruit content differed wildly, so I got the cheaper version, but which had the best fruit ratio.

On other days, I watch paint dry...

A K Haart said...

Scrobs - enthusiasts seem to make their own which sounds like the best idea to me. Lots of liquor and fruit would be my approach.