Forget the Great British Bake Off, we put a selection of mince pies to the test

WE MAY have just under two weeks to go before Christmas but mince pie season is already well and truly upon us.

As far as quality goes, they can be pretty hit and miss. Done well, the pastry is crumbly and the filling substantial and sweet but done badly, it’s enough to throw you off them altogether. But to save you from the hassle of finding the perfect ones this year, we have put a selection to the test.

The Mince Pie Project has returned for another year and sees 100 of the UK’s best chefs create a unique recipe, with the final products auctioned off for charity. Last year Heston Blumenthal’s team raised the most money with their creation but this year, all eyes are on Nobu and Gordon Ramsay’s head chefs so we gave their creations and try. But it’s not all about the big chefs. We tried a selection of widely available options too to make sure we have all bases covered. Let the test begin.

1. Regis Cursan – Executive pastry chef at Nobu

Pastry: Disappointing. The majority were put off by its dark appearance with some going as far as to say that it looks like a “burnt log.”

Filling: “Moist”, with the “right amount of filling” compared to others but on the “bland” side.

Overall score: 3/10

2. Clare Smyth – Head chef of Gordon Ramsay restaurant

Pastry: Opinions were split. Some on our panel said the crumbly texture was “innovative,” while others felt it was “too messy to eat.”

Filling: “Moist” and “flavoursome” with a winning hint of marzipan.

Overall score: 7/10

3. Jamie Oliver’s Mini Mince Pies

Pastry: A deliciously sweet case with a consistency that resembles a shortbread biscuit.

Filling: “Too sweet” but with all of the flavours you would expect from a good mince pie.

Overall score: 7/10

Boots, £6 for pack of 9

4. Cocomaya

Pastry: Despite the “generous portions”, most tasters described the texture as “dry” and “too flaky.”

Filling: Sweet with a good “rich flavour” and a “boozy” taste thrown in for good measure.

Overall score: 6/10, £3 each

5. Konditor & Cook

Pastry: Very “buttery”, in a good way, but a bit on the “heavy” side.

Filling: Unimaginative. The low proportion of mince to pastry was deemed a let down.

Overall score: 7/10, £6.50 for pack of 6

6. Melrose and Morgan

Pastry: It didn’t fare too well, with many describing it as “tasteless” and “chewy.”

Filling: It served better in the here. One taster called it “perfectly adequate but “nothing groundbreaking.”

Overall score: 4/10
£7.50 for pack of 6