It’s that time of year again when we start to think about all the festivities that come with Christmas; the decorations, the presents, the time spent with loved ones, the festive cheer… the list goes on. However, let’s not beat around the horrendously decorated Christmas tree. Ultimately, it’s food that is Christmas’s biggest attribute and more specifically for those of us with a sweet tooth – mince pies.
This festive season I decided to embark upon the ultimate Christmas mission: the battle of the mince pies. I must admit it was a somewhat arduous task that put particular strain on my waistband but nonetheless; I undertook it with the greater good of Nouse readers in mind…
I first sampled Aldi’s Holly Lane Deep Fill Mince Pies. At 6 for 99p, I was dubious as to how cheerful these festive treats would be. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The pastry was thick and fresh, if a little tough and the mincemeat was very sweet. Admittedly, there was less filling than the ‘Deep Fill’ name suggests but for 99p, I can certainly overlook that.
Morrison’s freshly baked range of mince pies at £1.40 for 6, was next on my list. Somewhat shallower than their Aldi counterpart, you definitely get a lot less for your money. However, the pastry was of a far higher quality – much softer and better shaped. There was also the addition of icing sugar, a firm festive favourite and an immaculately fluted edge around each mince pie, which I know is of the utmost importance to cash-strapped students.
At £1.24 for 6, Marks and Spencer’s All Butter Mince Pies sat at the more expensive end of the range but in the name of fair testing I sampled them anyway. They lived up to their ‘all butter’ name and the addition of sugar, (as opposed to icing sugar) on the top was well received. There was also the welcoming surprise of brandy and port within the mincemeat mixture. This set the mince pie aside from its cheaper rivals and is an added bonus for alcohol-loving students.
I thought it necessary to taste a mince pie a little closer to home and so during a particularly laborious library study session, I rewarded myself with one of the Library Café’s luxury mince pies. It is questionable as to what extent they can be considered a ‘pie’ on the basis that its maker appeared to have forgotten the pastry lid. Nonetheless, the less than typical appearance was a novel change. The pastry was good and neatly arranged but the mincemeat was scarce. Although a pleasant break from a monotonous essay, at the hefty price of £1.25 each they will certainly not become a regular purchase.
The final mince pie I put through its paces was one of my mum’s homemade ones. Costing absolutely nothing, baked to perfection and a perfect reminder of home, I conclude that ultimately, these are the way forward.
There’s a superstition that if you eat a mince pie every day from Christmas to the Twelfth Night then you’ll have good luck for the next 12 months. And so, my advice to you all is that if my mum isn’t at hand to bake you an individual homemade batch, two packets of Aldi’s Holly Lane Deep Fill Mince Pies will see you through to the New Year with all the good luck you’ll need. At excellent value for money and pretty darn tasty, you really can’t go wrong.