The team in the downstairs office at Bulletin HQ are partial to a biscuit (or two) during the 11am tea break. At the start of December our self-confessed Christmas theme-aholic office manager Cat suggested swapping out the choccy biscuits for mince pies. We thought it only natural to try and get our hands on as many varieties as possible in the vicinity of our office and rate them to find the best one for office elevenses in the run up to Christmas.
M&S Frangipane mince pies (£3 for four)
Overall Overall nice. We bought these after a debate in the office as to what frangipane actually was.
Appearance Neat with a good sprinkle of flaked almonds and dusting of icing sugar on top
Pastry Nice and buttery
Filling The frangipane topping is nice but a little odd for a mince pie and the mince pie filling underneath isn’t very strong
M&S lattice topped mince pies (£2 for six)
Overall Well balanced, would have worked well with a dollop of cream on top
Appearance Neat lattice work
Pastry Beautiful flaky pastry
Filling Well filled, balanced and not astringent
We love cake merrily-on-pie (£2.69 for four)
Overall Gluten, wheat and milk free option. Although it was well liked by CEO Martin, his opinion wasn’t shared by the rest of the team who sadly concluded that not even a dollop of cream could turn it around
Appearance Bonus points for the name but it’s pale complexion had us checking the box to see if they were part-baked
Pastry Very dry, pale and almost biscuit-like in consistency
Filling The mince pie filling was nice but there wasn’t much of it
Aldi chocolate and orange mini mince pies (£1.99 for nine)
Overall Split opinions from the team on this one, Cat loved them but Martin couldn’t even finish his
Appearance A little rough around the edges but it had a nice dusting of icing sugar on top
Pastry Despite boasting a chocolatey pastry, it was missing the chocolate taste and was very claggy
Filling Whereas Cat thought the filling had a strong taste of chocolate orange, the rest of the team thought the mince pie filling was swamped with a sticky, acidic marmalade syrup that overpowered the mincemeat
Greggs vegan mince pies (£2.35 for six)
Overall These were good last year but even better this year and very generous sizing
Appearance Being baked in store definitely helped the homemade look and the sprinkle of sugar was a nice alternative to icing sugar
Pastry Flaky and no soggy bottom
Filling Large and well-filled. You get your money’s worth. The mince pie filling was balanced and didn’t have a chemical kick aftertaste
McDonald’s festive pie with custard (£1.29 each)
Overall Anything deep fried and served with custard is not generally going to be a problem to finish or savour
Appearance It is rather messy to eat as the shards of pastry fly everywhere when you bite into it, which is especially problematic for something that you are likely to scoff in your car. Packaging can be recycled though.
Pastry Sweet, crisp pastry
Filling The sweetness of the custard toned down the acidity of the filling – perhaps problematic if you are not overly fans of sweet things but perfect for the downstairs office taste testers
Morrisons brandy mini mince pies (£2.25 for nine)
Overall Strong boozy pies might not be sensible when you have an afternoon of meetings lined up!
Appearance Cute miniature appearance
Pastry Good and no soggy bottoms
Filling Filling is overly sweet and there is not enough of it
Birds mince pies (£3.25 for six)
Overall Well balanced and the pastry beat the rest but they are quite expensive
Appearance Don’t look the most exciting but the granulated sugar on top is a nice touch
Pastry Buttery, crumbly pastry
Filling Well filled and the mixture is well spiced with plump fruit
Welbeck Bakehouse mince pies (4.50 for six)
Overall The box they come in look like they would make a lovely Christmas present but the filling texture was controversial within the team.
Appearance Very rustic looking and it’s nice to see the mincemeat filling from the top. Clearly well-filled because it’s heavy to pick up.
Pastry Crumbly. Initially it doesn’t look like there should be enough pastry for the mix but there is, however the pastry does let the filling down a bit.
Filling Very strong citrus fruit and jammy with some crisp textures, with strong flavours of lemon and apple. Not overly sweet but very moist.
Asda Extra Special Luxury mince pies (£2.50 for six)
Overall Middle of the road, a pretty inoffensive mince pie that will go down well with a cup of tea at your desk. If you intend to use the office microwave to warm it through give it less time than you think – Cat’s exploded!
Appearance Looks lovely with a nice double star decoration on top and a dusting of icing sugar.
Pastry Quite dry and there seems to be quite a bit of it.
Filling The orange oil comes through really well and you can taste the cognac and port.