Welcome to the first mince pie review of 2018.
Yep, I’m going to some serious lengths this year to give you all the info you need about where to go and what pies to buy. So, no messing about, let’s tuck in…
The packaging is almost identical to last year with a couple of subtle differences. The imagery of the mince pies has changed and last year, the pies were “infused with brandy’ whereas this year, they are “laced with brandy”. I’d much rather something laced with it, than infused by it…so this is a positive.
As before, I maintain that they don’t feel THAT Christmassy, but the gold colour is nice enough. The window to the pies demonstrates confidence in the quality of the baking and the box does look particularly classy.
There is a big label at the top shouting about their NEW RECIPE. Which, frankly in the world of mince pie reviewing, is exciting!
It’s worth having a little peak at the nutritional information versus last year on that basis:
This year’s pie is on the right of the two. So, we’re 26 calories less, a smidge less salt, less sugar, fat…less pie? I reckon so, because per 100g there is 396calories versus last year’s 389 calories.
Yup, you got it, last year was 370g for the box, and this year 325g. And still £2.00. Bargain!
7/10 – Probably should stay consistent with the 2017 packaging. It’s not bad at all though.
I do think, genuinely, that these look wonderful.
The tray is a nice matching colour, doesn’t feel cheap and the star design on top with the snow flake design is genuinely lovely. It’s well defined and these pies are buried in a mountain of sugar either.
There are a couple of minor issues, the filling on a couple of them is pouring out, they look maybe over full? And the one at the top left of the above picture is slightly mis-aligned. Quality control issues perhaps? Or am I a bit fussy here?
To compare against last year by the way, these are significantly improved.
9/10 – Top quality presentation, only let down by a little lid mis-alignment and filling overflow.
Now then…really a mince pie has two factors we are bothered about. The pastry and the filling. And I’m just going to focus on the filling in this cunningly titled “Filling” section of this review.
Seriously flavoursome, fruity and very boozy. There is such a whiff of brandy when you open the pack, it’s like an “Am I drunk already?” moment!
There is a generous helping of the filling in each, but don’t let the overflow on the images fool you, they are about half full which is about the only disappointment here.
9/10 – I’m hugely impressed by the filling on these. If you like a boozy pie, this is that!
This is slightly confusing to me really. Biting into these pies, and especially if you remember last years, will be a bit of a shock. The pastry last year was quite heavy, very buttery and had a very slight stick to the roof of your mouth feeling. This year, the pastry has a touch of the Mr Kipling about it. It’s quite thin and doesn’t have anything in the way of a crunch or a bite, it’s very insubstantial. You can see where the weight decrease has come in the pack this year, 370g down to 325g is quite a lot split between six mince pies and this is definitely where the loss is.
So, how about the rest of it…how do the pastry and the filling work together? Well, it’s honestly decent. The filling is really good, it really is nice and boozy, has good lumps of fruit and I’m fairly impressed. There is no soggy bottom either, so that’s quite a good trick by Sainsbury’s for such thin pastry (might be a different story in November when these have sat on shelves for 2 months).
14/20 – Filling tastes great, pastry not so much. Together, no more than decent.
These are pretty good, they aren’t disappointing for a premium mince pie but if they’d added a smidge more to the pastry mixture these could have been outstanding.
39/50 – Bizarrely, considering it’s a whole new recipe, it’s the same score as last year!