The great Christ­mas mince pie test

Mince pies are usu­ally one of the first Christ­mas treats to ar­rive at su­per­mar­kets. Me­gan Baad­jies re­views four of­fer­ings

Cape Argus - - LIFE -

PICK N PAY MINCE PIE (R34.99)

I re­ally wish Pick n Pay had put a bit more ef­fort into their pack­ag­ing and pre­sen­ta­tion, it is Christ­mas after all.

The crust is slightly softer than oth­ers and breaks eas­ily, caus­ing more crumbs, which landed all over the place.

These pies are ready to eat and re­quire no heat­ing and that’s a plus.

In terms of taste, I got mostly raisin and spicy flavours, and not much of any­thing else, al­though the in­gre­di­ents list vaguely states egg, fruit mince and citrus peel. I re­cruited four other tasters who all thought the Pick n Pay pies were sweeter, but not nec­es­sar­ily bet­ter than Wool­worths mince pies.

In fact, all four of then said they pre­ferred the Woolies mince pies.

Un­like its com­peti­tor, the Pick n Pay that I went to didn’t have a va­ri­ety of flavours.

Al­though I had it on its own, I would sug­gest hav­ing these pies with a scoop of ice cream.

5/10 SPAR MINCE PIE (R32.99)

Once again, the im­por­tance of the pas­try is ev­i­dent here. While it should be but­tery, soft and crumbly, it shouldn’t break al­most im­me­di­ately after get­ting the pie from the plas­tic pack­ag­ing.

That’s what hap­pened with this pie. The fill­ing was not moist enough and though it wasn’t too sweet, I needed to have a drink after hav­ing a small piece of the pie be­cause of how dry ev­ery­thing was. I sug­gest hav­ing this one warm with some cream. It tasted bet­ter after I warmed it up in the mi­crowave for a few sec­onds. 5/10 MINCE pies are a Christ­mas sta­ple for many of us and fall in the same cat­e­gory as a brandy-soaked Christ­mas cake.

Even if you don’t get to it im­me­di­ately after your meaty feast, your Christ­mas menu is not com­plete with­out a tra­di­tional sweet treat. These mini pies are of Bri­tish ori­gin and filled with a sweet mix­ture of dried fruit and spices.

The outer shell is a short­crust pas­try, which has to be per­fect, as it holds the pie to­gether. The fin­ish­ing WOOL­WORTHS mince pies come in a range of flavours, in­clud­ing pecan fruit, clas­sic fruit and Cle­men Gold fruit mince pies.

For the choco­late lovers, there is, of course, a deca­dent choco­late flavour as well.

I loved the sim­ple yet fes­tive pack­ag­ing, which makes for a very nice gift.

In true Woolies’ fash­ion, the “de­li­cious short­crust pas­try filled with our ex­clu­sive spiced fruit mince­meat, packed with juicy vine touch is usu­ally a dust­ing of sugar or ic­ing sugar.

Ac­cord­ing to www.why­christ­mas.com, the mince pie was orig­i­nally filled with meat and was first made in an oval to rep­re­sent the manger that Je­sus slept in as a baby, with the top rep­re­sent­ing his swad­dling clothes. Over the years, bak­ers have be­come cre­ative with the dif­fer­ent shapes on the top, in­clud­ing hearts, stars and flow­ers.

The site also states that a cus­tom from the Mid­dle Ages was that if

WOOL­WORTHS CHRIST­MAS FRUIT MINCE PIE (R35.99)

fruits and dusted with sugar” is “best served warm”.

The short­crust pas­try has a thick, bis­cuit-like tex­ture, which you can eas­ily bite through, but doesn’t eas­ily break apart.

I pre­ferred it at room tem­per­a­ture, as warm­ing the mince pie only in­ten­si­fies its sweet­ness. I quite en­joyed the flavour com­bi­na­tion of the raisins, sul­tanas and dates. 6/10 you eat a mince pie each day from Christ­mas to Twelfth Night – the evening of the Jan­uary 5 – you will have hap­pi­ness for the next 12 months! I think I will take my chances on this one and pass.

Un­less you have a sweet tooth and have a taste for some of the sweeter things in life, these lit­tle pies may not be your cup of tea.

How­ever, if the pas­try is the right con­sis­tency, then it adds the per­fect bal­ance to the some­times overly sweet fill­ing.

CHECK­ERS BLUE­BERRY MINCE PIE (R49.99)

The most im­por­tant thing in a mince pie is its pas­try. It’s what keeps ev­ery­thing to­gether and so, when the pas­try is ter­ri­ble, it just spoils the whole ex­pe­ri­ence.

This par­tic­u­lar pas­try was very soggy and stuck to my teeth. The only sav­ing grace was that it wasn’t sweet, be­cause there was no dusted sugar.

I was ex­cited to taste the fill­ing of blue­ber­ries, which makes it ap­pro­pri­ate for a sum­mer Christ­mas pie. The fill­ing was not sick­en­ingly

When it comes to Christ­mas, I’m usu­ally most ex­cited about the food.

Per­son­ally, I don’t have a sweet tooth, but we can’t cel­e­brate Christ­mas with­out a fes­tive treat.

Mince pies can be served hot or cold and adding a spoon of your favourite ice cream and cher­ries will turn this into a sum­mery, fes­tive dessert.

With all the re­tail­ers’ fes­tive foods on full dis­play, we went on a quest to find out whose mince pies were the best. sweet, which was a ma­jor re­lief.

If it weren’t for the pas­try, then it would be re­ally amaz­ing. Ex­tra points for the gourmet look and the pack­ag­ing. 6.5/10

1. WOOL­WORTHS CHRIST­MAS FRUIT MINCE PIE2. CHECK­ERS BLUE­BERRY MINCE PIE3. SPAR MINCE PIE4. PICK N PAY MINCE PIE

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